Between the two candidates running in the County’s Fourth District, we believe Elie Kirshner ’18 is the best person to represent the needs of students living in Collegetown and near the Commons on the Tompkins County Legislature.
Kirshner’s opponent, Rich John ’81, is undoubtedly a qualified candidate. He has valuable experience as an attorney, and understands the community both as a resident and a Cornell alumnus. While he would bring a great amount of experience to the position, we believe that Kirshner is a more favorable choice. Kirshner is admittedly young, but his age and student status are part of what distinguish him as an appropriate candidate for the County’s Fourth District. Kirshner understands the issues and concerns pertaining to Ithaca’s large student population. Furthermore, by having a student on the Legislature, additional opportunities can be created for Cornellians to further their engagement with the community, which has been lacking in recent years.
If elected, Kirshner would not be the only young candidate elected to serve the local community in recent memory — Mayor Svante Myrick ’09, who is currently vying for mayoral reelection, won a seat on Common Council as an undergraduate student. Myrick is a testament to the fact that electing students to government positions fosters continued and active civic engagement with an important part of the community — the student base. Kirshner has already interned for Myrick, meaning that Kirshner has an understanding of the responsibilities of government officials, as well as a broader understanding of issues pertaining to the Ithaca community beyond Cornell’s campus.
While students ought to engage with the community, it is imperative that the local government also engages with students, who make up a significant portion of Ithaca community for two-thirds of the year. While both candidates are qualified to serve on the legislature, Kirshner, if elected, will bring a perspective that will bring to light the problems facing the Collegetown and Commons neighborhoods.