Your government news is made possible with support from: Anna Lamb is a reporter for the Ithaca Voice.Questions? Story tips? Contact her at [email protected] More by Anna Lamb ITHACA, N.Y. –– Voters in Tompkins County will see on their ballot this year two candidates for a seat in New York’s State Assembly to represent District 125 after long-time Assemblymember Barbara Lifton announced her retirement back in January, leaving the seat vacant. Running as a Democrat and on the Working Families line is Tompkins County Legislator Anna Kelles, facing Republican and Libertarian candidate Matthew McIntyre.A native of Trumansburg, Kelles earned a dual-degree in environmental sciences and nutritional epidemiology from Binghamton University and a doctorate in nutritional epidemiology from the University of North Carolina — Chapel Hill. According to her campaign announcement in February, Kelles has served as a public health educator, director of an environmental non-profit, and a human rights activist, before being elected to the county legislature in November 2015.Early on in her campaign, Kelles committed to four key issues including affordable housing within walkable communities, access to affordable child care, reducing healthcare costs and protecting the environment. Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Kelles said that her main focus has been creating equity within the community. “I want people to know that I’m from here and I’ve been a legislator for four years now, and I feel very committed in my heart to this work that I take the the title of public servant very seriously,” she said. “These are really hard times –– it’s the strangest time to be campaigning. And for me, it has been as much about doing public service to address some of the huge needs that have come up just as much as it is letting people know who I am.” She went on to say she has been working in the last eight months of the pandemic, “making sure people have food to eat, making sure they have transportation to their doctor’s appointments and making sure that we start to find real solutions to the lack of broadband,” and that her dedication to those issues will continue in Albany. If elected, she said she believes she can get to work right away by joining committees and working on Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed budget, tasks that will be informed by her experience as a legislator. “Just the act itself of being a legislator four years –– writing legislation, building coalitions, working with staff, connecting with constituents, hearing from constituents regularly, responding to needs from constituents –– that day in and day out, focus and experience will be, I believe, absolutely invaluable if I win the election for my work in Albany,” Kelles said. “I if I win, I will be a state assembly person, but I will come into it with a tremendous, rooted understanding of the impact of state decisions on local governments, and I think that’ll be a gift,” she said. Tagged: anna lamb, election, election 2020, ithaca, kelles, matthew mcintyre, NY125, tompkins county Anna Lamb While NY-125 is considered a solidly-blue district, Kelles will face-off with the Republican and Libertarian nominee Matthew McIntyre, chair of the Cortland County Libertarian Party, in the Nov. 3 general election.McIntyre, a former United States Marine, was born and raised in Homer, NY. A husband and father of two, he is an alum of LeMoyne College’s Madden School of Business and Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management. He is the current chair of the Libertarian Party of Cortland County, a member of both the Marine Corps League and the Knights of Columbus, an interim coach of his daughter’s YMCA gymnastics team and a volunteer with her local Girl Scout troop out of Truxton.McIntyres’s Libertarian platform supports a smaller government and places an emphasis on individual liberties. Since announcing his run in February, McIntyre says his focus has shifted to reducing government restrictions on businesses in light of the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on the economy.“We need to make New York business friendly again from small business all the way up to the bigger corporations, and a lot of it is just by eliminating some of the licensing and regulations that are put in place by the state,” he said. In addition to a focus on business, McIntyre said he believes there needs to be an overhaul in the healthcare system including creating transparency in coverage pricing and creating more affordable medical equipment. Moreover, he supports deregulation in the cannabis industry.“I want to deregulate the hemp industry and I want to legalize cannabis for the adult use. That paired with policies for economic reform, we’re going to have a very, very viable and healthy industry coming in that could provide a lot of jobs and provide people with a lot of opportunity to either start their own businesses or partake in it,” McIntyre said. In terms of how McIntyre believes he stacks up to Kelles as a candidate, he believes he stacks up well in terms of wealth of ambition and ideas, but that as someone who has not held public office, he is not bogged down by “playing politics.”“I’m going to fight for the 125th District. I’m going to fight for their rights,” he said. “I’m not going to play the games that that a party may want me to play to satisfy them. No, I’m there for the people and I am a public servant.”Whoever takes office will work alongside the New York State Senate to form the legislative branch of New York state government and will work alongside the governor of New York to create laws and establish a state budget. The winning candidate’s duties will include passing bills on public policy matters, setting levels for state spending, raising and lowering taxes and voting to uphold or override gubernatorial vetoes.All Tompkins County polling places will be open between 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 3. Voters must go to their assigned polling place during those hours. A map of the City of Ithaca’s voting districts and their corresponding polling places can be found here. All other towns and villages in Tompkins can find their districts and polling place maps here. Voters will sign the electronic poll book, get their ballot, then mark and cast it.