October 26, 2021

3 join race for Assembly

Cortland County Seal

Three more people, including two Cortland County residents, are jumping into what is now a five-way race for the Democratic nomination to succeed Assembly Member Barbara Lifton.

The three:

  • Cortland County Legislator Beau Harbin (D-Cortland) announced his candidacy this morning to follow Lifton (D-Ithaca) who announced she will step down at the end of this term following 18 years in office.
  • Tompkins County Legislator Anna Kelles (D-Ithaca) announced her candidacy Friday.
  • Lisa Hoeschele, executive director and CEO of Family & Children’s Counseling Services, plans to announce her candidate at 9 a.m. Tuesday at Courthouse Park on Church Street in Cortland.

They will join Dryden Town Supervisor Jason Leifer and Seph Murtagh, an Ithaca alderman and Lifton’s communications coordinator. No Republicans have yet announced a candidacy for the 125th District seat.

“I have dedicated my life’s work to serving the public and the planet,” Kelles said in a news release. “I will bring this experience to Albany to ensure the interests of our district are strongly represented.”

Kelles, a native of Trumansburg, was elected to the legislature in 2015 and was its vice chairwoman in 2018. She has been chairwoman or vice chairwoman of committees on housing, economic development, planning, environmental quality, public safety and health and human services.

Kelles said she will focus on four issues as a state legislator: affordable housing within walkable communities, access to affordable child care, reducing health care costs and protecting the environment.

Kelles is the owner of Kelles Nutrition and Wellness.

Hoeschle runs one of the largest behavioral health providers in Central New York and the Southern Tier and is president of the South Central Behavioral Health Care Collaborative.

She has been president of the Cortland Enlarged City School Board and has been a community volunteer for the Onondaga Historical Association, Partners for Arts Education, the Cortland YWCA, the Cortland Family YMCA, the Cortland County Community Services Board and the state-wide Mental Health Clinic Fiscal-Viability Task Force.

Hoeschle is now a member of the board of directors for the Homer Center 4 the Arts and the Cortland Community Foundation, and is president of the state Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare.

Harbin, first elected to the Cortland County Legislature in 2017, is now its minority leader and vice chairman of its buildings and grounds committee, promised to continue Lifton’s legacy.

“Great ideas come from many places, which is why I have been actively involved in working with other leaders across our state,” he said in a news release. “Also as an Appalachian Leadership Institute fellow, I have collaborated with leaders across the larger Appalachian region in order to see how our shared issues can be addressed.”

Harbin, a native of Flint, Michigan and raised in Charlottesville, Virginia, has lived in Cortland for 12 years and is a 20-year information technology professional now managing a team of consultants for an international software company.

Harbin is also a board member for both the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Cortland County and the Cortland County Planning Board, as well as vice chairman for the Southern Tier 8 Regional Planning Board.