Courtesy of the Tompkins County Democratic Committee

A former Cornell librarian Susan Currie runs uncontested for Tompkins County Legislator in a special election Tuesday.

January 23, 2023

Former Cornell Librarian Running Unopposed in Tompkins County Legislature Special Election 

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Residents of Tompkins County District 3, which includes parts of Collegetown and North Campus, are eligible to vote on Tuesday in the special election for County Legislator.

Following the passing of Legislator Henry Graniston that left a vacancy on the Tompkins County Legislature, the Tompkins County Democratic search committee selected Susan Currie as the Democratic candidate for District 3 Legislator.

Currie, former director of Tompkins County Public Library, is running unopposed, but write-in candidates are still eligible. 

A resident of Tompkins County since 1979, Currie worked at Uris and Olin Libraries at Cornell for 24 years before starting her role as director of TCPL in the middle of the 2008 recession. Currie inherited a deficit of $750,000, which she closed while working closely with the County Legislature.

“It demonstrated to me the direct impact of the infrastructure of our government and the impact of local neighborhoods, and I became really interested in how the County managed all of its agencies and departments,” Currie said. “I saw a lot of issues when I was in the library: homelessness, mental health, health care needs, housing, so I saw the direct impact of the government on our community.”

While library director, Currie said she led a fundraising campaign to improve the facility, which included establishing a new maker space, teen center, digital lab, local history room and increased space for special collections. Currie is also involved in the Tompkins County Historical Commission, which allows her to immerse in the local community.

In a Tompkins County Democratic Committee press statement, search committee co-chair Ann Sullivan said that Currie had a track record of good service to Tompkins County.

“She brought a combination of experience and a record that made us think that she would be a super representative,” Sullivan said in the press statement.

If elected, Currie says her top priorities would be tackling housing, food security, mental health and women and children issues. She hopes to join the health and human services committee.

“As a citizen, what I read about is people not having adequate housing. I know that there have been issues with people having to live outside. That’s concerning, especially since we have harsh winters,” Currie said. “That is why it is something that is important to me. I used to see people in the library who had great needs.”

Despite the election being uncontested, Currie still believes turning out to vote in this special election is an essential duty.

“Participation in voting is one of the civil liberties we have in this country. It shows support for the candidate. Every candidate needs the support of the community,” Currie said. “But there’s a practical reason too. By voting regularly, you keep your voter registration active.”

Since she would be representing many Cornellians, Currie said she hopes to stay engaged with the Cornell community.

“I would be interested in hearing from [Cornell students], what their concerns and questions and issues are,” Currie said. “I loved working with students when I worked at Uris and Olin Libraries. I worked with a lot of student employees and I learned a lot from them. So I think it’s a real opportunity.”

Currie hopes to carry out the legacy of Graniston, who she worked closely with during her time at Cornell and TCPL. Before being elected Legislator, Graniston worked at Cornell Law School and volunteered at the Public Library. 

Voting will take place on Tuesday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Alice Cook House at the corner of Stewart and University avenues, South Hill School on Hudson Street and the Bell Sherman annex on Cornell Street.