Elie Kirshner

ITHACA, N.Y. — A 19-year-old Cornell student has announced that he will be running for the seat on the Tompkins County Legislature recently vacated by Nate Shinagawa.

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Elie Kirshner, who grew up in Ithaca, says he will compete to represent the county’s District 4 — which encompasses Collegetown and the Ithaca Commons — on the County Legislature.

Elie Kirshner

Kirshner has worked as an intern in the city of Ithaca and is also the field director for Mayor Svante Myrick’s uncontested re-election campaign. (Myrick was elected mayor of Ithaca as a 24-year-old.)

Kirshner acknowledge his youth but expressed confidence in his ability to be an effective legislator.

“I don’t have a lot of experience, but I promise to listen and advocate for progressive causes,” Kirshner said in an interview on Friday.

“Obviously, I have a lot to learn. … but I think I have some experience as someone who has lived in Ithaca my entire, brief life.”

In a statement, Kirshner said he has also helped the city coordinate the Collegetown Small Business Alliance and contributed to the writing of state and federal grants for local infrastructure repairs on streets like Stewart Avenue and Cayuga Street.

He also said in the statement that he would fight for progressive causes such as “affordable, quality housing, living wages, sustainability and social justice. I also want to share my passion for improving care and resources for people living with mental illness, and explore policy improvements for what I believe is one our most significant public health challenges today.”

The special election will be held on Tuesday, November 3. No other candidates have emerged so far for the seat.

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Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.