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The Ithaca Chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) has endorsed two candidates running for Tompkins County legislature: Nicole LaFave, who is running for District 1, and Veronica Pillar, who is running for District 2. 

These endorsements add to Ithaca DSA’s already active role organizing around the June 22 Democratic primary — they are also backing the Solidarity Slate of Common Council candidates in a joint effort with Ithaca Tenants’ Union. 

“The working people of Ithaca have suffered under converging crises that aren’t addressed by the centrist status quo. We need a people-powered movement at the city and county level, the kind that is reflected in the progressive agenda of  Nicole LaFave and Veronica Pillar,” said Aurora Rojer, chair of the Ithaca DSA. “Not only are we working hard to elect these progressive allies, but we are planning to continue collaborating with them while they are in office.” 

“The DSA does great work that is firmly centered on human rights and grassroots power,” Pillar said. “I'm grateful for their endorsement and excited to work alongside them in Tompkins County to fight for justice in all forms and push policies that support people without barriers.”

LaFave wrote, “We are excited and grateful to join forces with DSA to continue building a grassroots, people-powered movement in Ithaca and to fight all forms of oppression that keep us away from true freedom and liberation. The county legislature can play a key role in this fight, and I look forward to working with DSA on implementing transformative policies in Tompkins County.”

LaFave and Pillar’s platforms align with the Ithaca Solidarity Slate in prioritizing a living wage, housing justice, support for unions, and antiracist policies that target police brutality, the criminal justice system, and economic inequity. Both county legislature candidates are active organizers in Ithaca around the issue of racial injustice: LaFave is a co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Ithaca chapter, and Pillar is a longtime organizer for Ithaca’s chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ).

LaFave is running for the District 1 seat currently held by Leslyn McBean-Clairborne, who announced her retirement after 20 years in the legislature this past February. District 1 represents Central Downtown Ithaca, the North Side, the South Side and West Hill. Veronica Pillar is running in the adjacent District 2, which  encompasses Fall Creek and Cornell Heights.

The Democratic primary will take place on Tuesday, June 22. Early voting begins on June 12. For more information on LaFave and Pillar’s campaigns, visit and

(1) comment

Richard Ballantyne

Everything you need to know about democratic socialism vs capitalism. Watch the last half.

The problem is the very people who need to understand this the most likely have low attention spans or don't yet understand basic economic principals, and don't see how self interested people become much less productive under certain public policies.

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