ITHACA, NY – The Tompkins County legislature has never been shy about criticizing the the New York State government. Now one of its own, Legislator Mike Sigler, is taking a more direct approach — setting his sights on a seat in the state senate.

Sigler, who has represented Lansing in the Tompkins Legislature for two terms, announced earlier this month that he will be competing for the New York’s 54th senate district seat. The seat is currently held by Republican State Sen. Mike Nozzolio, who announced he would not be seeking reelection.

The 54th senate district includes Lansing and stretches north, covering most of the area between Rochester and Syracuse. The rest of Tompkins County is split between the 58th and 51st senate districts, represented by Republican State Senators Tom O’Mara (who is being challenged by Ithaca Democrat Leslie Danks Burke) and James Seward respectively.

The race to succeed Nozzolio is looking to be a contested one. According to a report, in addition to Sigler, there are at least four other Republicans who may be competing for the nomination. A single democratic candidate is also seeking the seat.

Sigler told the Ithaca Times that one of his goals should he win the seat is to tackle the unfunded mandate issue — that is, the way that New York State requires counties to pay for various services but doesn’t provide any help in doing so. Sigler also noted his opposition to the State’s stance on gun control and the SAFE Act.

Sigler also told the Times that he wants to get involved with the discussion on the opioid epidemic, believing that harm reduction strategies are worth exploring in order to keep people alive long enough to find a more permanent solution.

As long as at least two candidates remain in contention for the Republican nomination, the primary will be held on Sept. 13.

Michael Smith reports on politics and local news for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached via email at, by cell at (607) 229-0885, or via Google Voice at (518) 650-3639.