The New York Working Families Party announced its endorsement of six candidates for Tompkins County Legislature, including community activist Veronica Pillar and incumbent County Legislators Shawna Black, Amanda Champion, Deborah Dawson, Daniel Klein, and Anne Koreman. All six endorsees are running on campaigns championing a living wage for all jobs associated with tax abatement-supported projects.
All five incumbent endorsees were first elected as Working Families Party candidates in 2017. In the four years since, they have been a powerful progressive force in the legislature, most recently winning a seat for labor representation on the Tompkins County Industrial Development Agency.
Pillar is running in the March 23 special election to represent the 2nd District, a seat vacated by Working Families Party ally and now-Assemblymember Anna Kelles. A local science teacher, tenant advocate, and racial justice activist, Pillar is running on a platform supporting municipal broadband, investment in affordable housing, and increasing local green jobs.
“In every corner of New York, working families are getting pummeled by a historic pandemic, economic crisis, and rolling budget cuts to the services they rely on — which makes it all the more important that in 2021, our local elected governments are for and by working people. That’s why we’re thrilled to endorse these six progressive champions for Tompkins County Legislator,” said New York Working Families Party Director Sochie Nnaemeka. “From winning a consequential seat for labor on the IDA to leading the fight for renter justice in Ithaca, each of these candidates is a necessary voice for working people in the Legislature. We’re thrilled to be growing our progressive power in the Finger Lakes.”
“In 2017, we were proud to help usher in a new chapter for the Tompkins County Legislature by electing champions that would put working families first. In the four years since, Shawna, Amanda, Deborah, Daniel, and Anne have all done exactly that,” said Tompkins County New York Working Families Party leader Maribel Tineo. “Now, we’re thrilled to not only endorse these five proven progressives for another term, but also endorse Veronica to represent District 2. Veronica is a stalwart advocate for racial and housing justice in Ithaca, and is the right person to fill the shoes that now-Assemblymember Anna Kelles has left. We’re fired up to hit the pavement and ensure that these six candidates can keep fighting for working families from the County Legislature.”
“I'm thrilled to be working with the Working Families Party,” said Pillar. “The WFP coalition is aligned with my values in prioritizing justice, community, and basic human needs. Together we will fight for safe, affordable housing, living-wage jobs, and strong human rights protections for all people in Tompkins County.”
“The WFP endorsement means everything to me and my family, as we are blue collar and union strong,” said Koreman (District 5). “I promise to fight for working folks so they can not only survive in Tompkins County, but thrive with good paying jobs, equity, and affordable healthcare and housing.”
“The Working Families Party is the conscience of politics, and receiving their endorsement is a reminder to myself to aim high in thinking about solutions,” said Tompkins County Legislator Dan Klein (District 7).
“The Working Families Party's endorsement is especially meaningful to me, as a first-generation American child of two hard-working parents who supported the labor movement and the Democratic Party, and idolized FDR,” said Dawson (District 10). “My working family values run deep, and I try to follow them in every vote I make on the Tompkins County Legislature.”
“I have enjoyed my time serving in the Legislature and have learned the intricacies of how the County government operates. As we embark on uncertain times, I look forward to working hard to advocate for the residents in Tompkins County,” said Black (District 11).
"The most important part of being on the County Legislature for me is listening to people and guiding them to the information and help they need. Particularly during this difficult period of the global pandemic, I’m grateful to have been in a position to help others,” said Champion (District 12). I'm honored to have the endorsement of the Working Families Party, which is such a vital part of the political landscape and will help me continue to do this work."
WFP Endorsees for the Tompkins County Legislature
Veronica Pillar - District 2 - a longtime resident of District 2, science teacher and community activist Pillar is running to bring a clear progressive voice to the Legislature. She currently co-leads the Tompkins County chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) and has recently worked with the Tompkins County Antiracist Coalition and Mutual Aid Tompkins.
Tompkins County Legislator Anne Koreman - District 5 - Koreman was first elected to the Tompkins County Legislator in 2017. She is an Occupation Therapist who has been a social justice and environmental activist; serving as chair on environmental and civil rights organizations throughout Tompkins County.
Tompkins County Legislator Daniel Klein - District 7 - Dan Klein is in his second term on the Tompkins County Legislature representing Caroline, Danby, and a small section of the Town of Ithaca. Before that, he served for 6 years on the Danby Town Board.
Tompkins County Legislator Deborah Dawson - District 10 - Deborah Dawson is a former attorney from Western NY and has served as a social worker, Army Reservist and worked for the Department of Justice in D.C.
Tompkins County Legislator Shawna Black - District 11 - Black was first elected to the Tompkins County Legislator in 2017. She is running for a second term, focusing her campaign on her position as chair of the Health and Human Services Committee.
Tompkins County Legislator Amanda Champion - District 12 - Amanda Champion joined the Legislature in 2018 and is passionate about fighting for women’s rights and equality, protecting the natural world, and expanding the social safety net for her community.