ITHACA, N.Y. — Tompkins County Legislator Dr. Anna Kelles has announced that she will seek Barbara Lifton’s soon to be open 125th Assembly District Seat.

“Barbara Lifton served tirelessly with dignity and honor for eighteen years,” said Kelles in her campaign announcement. “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.”

Lifton announced last week that she would not be seeking a tenth term.

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. She has served as a public health educator, director of an environmental non-profit, a human rights activist, according to her announcement, before being elected to the county legislature in November 2015.

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

As an assemblymember, Kelles said she will focus on four key issues:

  • affordable housing within walkable communities
  • access to affordable child care
  • reducing healthcare costs
  • protecting the environment

Kelles joins a growing field, with Dryden Town Supervisor Jason Leifer and City of Ithaca Alderperson Seph Murtagh announcing their campaigns earlier in the week.

While we’ll have to wait until June to see which candidate will head to the general, Kelles also announced that she would be withdrawing from consideration for chair of the Tompkins County Legislature, which she has been battling Legislator Mike Lane (D-Dryden) for since the organizational meeting in January. The Tompkins County Clerk is expected to select a chair on Friday.

Petitions to appear on the ballot will begin circulating on Feb. 25 and are due to the Board of Elections between March 30 and April 2. The primary election will take place June 23 ahead of the general election on Nov. 3