August 28, 2002

State Assembly Democratic Contest Begins

Print More

The New York State Democratic Primary, on Sept. 10, gives Ithaca voters three candidates to choose from to face off against Republican Michael Sigler. Dan Lamb, Barbara Lifton, and Mike Lane are all vying for a position in the State Assembly vacated by Marty Luster (D–125).


Dan Lamb, a district representative for Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), has received endorsements from Hinchey, the United Auto Workers (UAW), the New York Liberal Party and the League of Conservation Voters. Barbara Lifton received an endorsement from Luster; Lifton has been Luster’s chief of staff since 1988. Luster cited Lifton’s having already traveled the “long and sharp learning curve in Albany” as a major reason that she was qualified for the office.

Mike Lane was first elected to office in 1979 as a trustee for the village of Dryden. In 1981, Lane became the mayor of Dryden, a position which he held for 10 years. Lane has had 21 years of experience in politics.


“The only endorsement I need is the endorsement of the democratic voters on Sept. 10,” Lane said.

Hinchey has shown his full support for Lamb.

“Dan Lamb has the intellect and ability to communicate effectively, and — above all else — Dan has the strength of character that is essential to achieve success for his constituents in the highly competitive environment of the assembly,” said Hinchey at a fundraiser on Aug. 10.

“He [Maurice Hinchey] will most likely be in Congress this January,” said Lamb about the endorsement. “This endorsement is a fairly forward-looking endorsement; it represents who he wants to work with.”

Lamb also felt that the UAW’s endorsement was very helpful to his candidacy.

“They [the UAW] are a leading labor union in this district; they have about 13,000 members in this district, including service and maintenance workers at Cornell. All four candidates interviewed for their [the UAW’s] endorsement, and I was their pick,” said Lamb. “This endorsement helps answer the question in this race of who is strong on issues effecting working families, such as access to health care, education, raising the minimum wage and supporting a worker’s right to organize.”

Although Lamb has the Congress member’s support, Lifton holds the endorsement of the incumbent assembly member.

“Barbara,” Luster said in a news release, “will hit the ground running and use her vast knowledge and experience to continue vigorous and thoughtful representation for the people of the 125th District.”

Lifton has been involved in political work outside of her job as Luster’s chief of staff.

“My political career started with my working on a nuclear weapons freeze campaign on the steering committee in Tompkins County,” said Lifton.”

Because of that work, Lifton came to Luster’s attention. Lifton managed Luster’s campaign in 1988. While acting as Assembly member Luster’s chief of staff, she remained active in the community with her position on the steering committee of Tompkins County Justice for All, an organization currently focusing on issues such as living wage, health care, the environment, and welfare reform.

In 1998, Lifton participated in organizing a march against a group of white supremacists planning to come to Tompkins County to recruit members. She remains confident that this experience will help her in her campaign.

“I think what distinguishes me is not only my experience with Assembly member Luster, but I’ve also had a very active political life on the federal, state and local level,” Lifton said.

Mike Lane is currently serving his third four-year term on the Tompkins County Board of Representatives; his district includes much of the eastern half of the Town of Dryden and borders directly on Cortland County.

Lane has emphasized his experience in elected office.

“I am running as the only candidate with elected experience,” said Lane.

He remains confident that his experience will set him above his opponents.

“I’m confident that my experience and my position on real issues like property tax reform, the economy. Development and jobs, health care and prescription drug costs stand well with what is on people’s minds. They know from my record that I will work hard for them.”

Archived article by David Hillis