After earning a patent, working on a farm, majoring in Ceramic Engineering and operating four horses, Don Barber, of Ithaca, intends to run for a New York State Senate next fall.
Barber spoke to the Cornell Democrats yesterday in Goldwin Smith Hall. He explained his potential platform, his political interests and his criticisms of the New York State government with fluidity and precision. Barber articulated three specific platform issues. First, he intends on reversing a trend on property tax so that more programs are funded by the state. “Because the larger state organizations are able to utilize the state funds towards their programming, the local organizations are left with property tax as their source of income,” he said. Second, he would like to work towards a more unified and functional state government in Albany, “The Senate bill is not sponsored in the Assembly, and the Assembly bill is not sponsored in the Senate,” he said, as he referred to the problem that often times, the two bodies have entirely different political agendas. Third, Barber expressed concern towards the future of healthcare in the United States. He claimed, “It is important for the U.S. to have streamlined delivery” so that more people could receive medication for cheaply and efficiently.
Barber’s past experience in politics served as a springboard for his interest in government at the state level. Among his many accomplishments, he served on several Tompkins County Advisory Boards, was elected to the Caroline Town Board in 1993 as Councilman, was appointed Deputy Supervisor in 1996 and was elected to the New York Municipal Insurance Reciprocal Board of Directors in 2004.
“New York is in a state crisis,” he said, “the state is in debt and the major decisions are concentrated in the hands of few individuals.” He also noted that a major difference between local and state government is that “there are more egos at the state level.” According to Barber, many local government officials treat politics as one aspect of their life besides other jobs, family commitments, etc. In Albany, these personal issues are not stressed and it leads to a more institutionalized environment.