ITHACA, N.Y. — Nate Shinagawa announced Wednesday that he is resigning from his position on the Tompkins County Legislature to run for a different position on the legislature.
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Shinagawa is resigning from his post as the legislature’s representative for District 4 (which includes downtown Ithaca and Collegetown) in order to vie to represent District 2, which includes Fall Creek, in a coming special election.
Earlier today, Ithaca resident and activist Anna Kelles also declared that she would run for the District 4 seat. The recent moves follow Legislator Kathy Luz Herrera’s sudden resignation from the post on Tuesday.
Shinagawa has been a mainstay in local Democratic politics for several years, having won the party’s primary in a 2012 Congressional election. (He lost in the general election to Rep. Tom Reed, a Republican.)
Shinagawa said in a news release that he has owned a house in District 2’s Fall Creek since 2011, and that the house has been lived in by younger siblings who have come under his care.
“My family has lived in Fall Creek for the past four years,” said Shinagawa in a news release.
“I know that it’s very uncommon for a legislator to move districts but all that separates the two districts is the road between the sidewalks of Farm St. The progressive causes I’ve advocated for, like affordable housing and living wage jobs, are the same issues across the street.”
One possible point of contention in the primary may be the fight over the “Old Library” site.
Kelles fought on behalf of a proposed development for the site by the architecture firms Franklin Properties and STREAM Collaborative, arguing it was more environmentally friendly and less disruptive than a competing proposal from Travis Hyde. Kelles cited the importance of the fight over the Old Library in her decision to run for the Legislature seat.
Shinagawa initially also supported the STREAM Collaborative proposal. But he ultimately proved the swing vote that broke a deadlock on the Legislature in favor of the Travis Hyde proposal — a vote he said was a result of his desire to progress on the site instead of its continued disuse.
Shinagawa’s news release notes that he has been a county legislator for 10 years, currently chairs the county’s Public Safety Committee and has been involved in efforts to bring body cameras to the sheriff’s office. He also is vice president of hospital operations at Robert Packer Hospital and earned a master’s degree from Cornell.
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