November 5, 2008

Democrats Take State Seats

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Democrats were victorious in both houses of Congress last night, securing seats that would back president-elect Barack Obama upon his inauguration. Marking a major shift in power in New York, the Democratic Party will hold 26 of the 29 seats in the House of Representatives, in addition to at least 32 of 62 seats in the State Senate.
Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.) was elected to serve his ninth term in the 22nd district, which includes Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions. He defeated Republican George Phillips, a history teacher in Binghamton. In an informal lunch meeting at Cornell last month, Hinchey — one of 288 to reject the $700 billion bailout bill in September — addressed the current financial crisis.
“We have seen the most reckless investment and speculation in the history of this country,” he said.
Hinchey, whose office is located on the Commons, has secured significant funding for Cornell throughout his tenure and has stressed the important role the University plays in the state.
“I think it’s important to have a relationship with this University. This is one of the most highly respected universities in the world,” Hinchey said. “This is something for which New York State generally can be very proud … I enjoy coming here.”
Incumbent Sen. George Winner, Jr. (R-Elmira) defeated John Tonello (D) for the 53rd District seat of the State Senate. At a meeting on Friday, Winner stressed that he would continue to improve the education system in New York.
Tonello currently serves as the communications director of the Cornell Graduate School, and is mayor of Elmira, N.Y.
Barbara Lifton (D) was reelected for the New York State Assembly, representing District 125, which includes all of Tompkins County. Lifton worked as a teacher in the Ithaca Public Schools in the 1980s. She ran unopposed.
In the City of Ithaca, Alderperson Nancy Schuler (D-4th Ward) was reelected to the Common Council in an unopposed election.