Forum Features Primary Candidates for Ithaca Common Council’s 1st and 5th Wards

On Monday, a partial forum was held for candidates running for Ithaca’s Common Council in its 1st and 5th wards.

The event was hosted by the City of Ithaca Democratic Committee and the Tompkins County Democratic Committee.

The forum functioned in a round-table style Q&A. Candidates spoke to nine questions asked by Democratic Committee Moderator, Liz Hartman. Their topics ranged from such evergreen -- such  as street and pedestrian safety and affordable housing in Ithaca -- to more recent subjects, like the path forward for Ithaca’s Reimagining Public Safety Plan, and changes in city government structure.

Incumbent Cynthia Brock was the only candidate to attend who’s running for the City’s 1st Ward seat. The other candidates are Yasmin Rashid and Shaniya Foster. Rashid was expected to attend but did not for an unknown reason. Foster did not plan to attend. 

5th Ward Candidates Marty Hiller and Robert Cantelmo made their case to voters going to the polls later this month. 

Robert Cantelmo is the chairperson of the Public Safety and Information Commission and the endorsed candidate of the Working Families Party. He’s been living in Ithaca since 2017. In his introductory statement, Cantelmo focused on his qualifications from prior experiences. 

He said, “I have worked with Council and the community at large on issues of public safety, access to information, and the Commons. I also have over a decade of experience in the nonprofit sector researching and implementing public policy programs.”

Marty Hiller is the Ithaca Community Gardens Board President. She leaned on her tenure in the community. “I am the progressive choice for Ward five. And I'm also the practical choice,” she said, “Ithaca is my home. I've lived here for 18 years, the past five at Fall Creek, and I've raised a child here. I'm a part of this community.”

Early voting starts on June 12th and the Primaries are on June 22nd from 6 am to 9 pm.