Anna Kelles

Tompkins County legislator Anna Kelles. 

The race to replace Barbara Lifton has another contender, as Tompkins County Legislator Anna Kelles has announced her candidacy for the seat as of Friday. 

Kelles made the announcement in a press release. She is in her second term on the legislature, one of two legislators representing the City of Ithaca. 

“I knocked on every door, listened to every voice. That's how I intend to serve the people of the 125th,” said Kelles, a Trumansburg native, reflecting on her outsider political campaign to originally get elected to the legislature in 2015. “I have dedicated my life’s work to serving the public and the planet. I will bring this experience to Albany to ensure the interests of our district are strongly represented.” 

City of Ithaca Common Council member Seph Murtagh and Dryden Town Supervisor Jason Leifer both have already announced their intentions to seek the Democratic nomination for the seat as well. 

Kelles studied Environmental Sciences and Nutritional Epidemiology in college. She has served as a public health educator, director of an environmental non-profit and an activist before being elected to the legislature. She had served as vice chair of the legislature since 2018 and was in the running to serve as chair starting this year, though she withdrew her name from consideration for that position in her campaign announcement. 

She also co-chairs the Local Progress NY board, an organization of local politicians pushing an agenda of "racial and economic justice."

“Barbara Lifton served tirelessly with dignity and honor for eighteen years,” Kelles said. “I applaud her commitment to public service, particularly her central role in attaining a state moratorium on hydraulic fracturing and bringing vital economic resources to Tompkins and Cortland Counties. I am ready to continue this legacy and represent the people of the 125th District in Albany with determination and heart.” 

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