ITHACA, N.Y. — Longtime Ithaca resident Henry Granison has announced he will run for the District 3 seat of Tompkins County Legislature.
Granison is an adjunct faculty member at Tompkins Cortland Community College and has lived in the Bryant Park area of the Belle Sherman neighborhood for nearly 18 years. Granison is running for District 3, which covers Belle Sherman, Bryant Park, South Hill and portions of upper Collegetown and East Hill.
Granison does not have a background in politics but was inspired to run for local office after the November election. In an interview Friday, Granison said he is particularly interested in protecting social services and making sure issues like a livable wage don’t fall through the cracks.
“I want to assist people who have problems in their everyday lives. I believe that we need to protect the wide variety of social services and to provide additional affordable housing in the county. Donald Trump’s budget outline, by contrast, proposes cuts to many vital social services like the Meals on Wheels program and the complete defunding of the Legal Services Corporation. Moreover, as an African American male I vigorously advocate for equal rights and protections for all,” Granison said in a statement.
Legislator Carol Chock, who has represented District 3 for nearly a decade, said in February that she will not seek re-election.
Granison, who turned 55 this week, was born and raised in New Jersey. He initially came to Ithaca to study law at Cornell University and graduated in 1988. He married his law school classmate, Mary Beth Grant, and has two children. After graduating from Cornell, Granison worked at two large corporate law firms and later worked at the Minnesota Legal Ethics Board.
Granison returned to Ithaca in 1999 to work in the admissions office at Cornell. Granison later went on to teach law-related classes at Tompkins Cortland Community College. He is currently teaching business law and an intro class on paralegalism.
Granison was a first-generation college student and son of working-class parents who belonged to the Bakery and Electrical Workers unions, Granison said. He said he cares about people who live in poverty and people in the working and middle classes. If elected, Granison said he will use his experience working with the public to seek input from residents in District 3.
Up until his decision to run for office, Granison said his role in the community has been as a private citizen. Since choosing to run, he has been attending Tompkins County Legislature meetings, joined the Democratic Committee. He also went to Washington, D.C., for the Women’s March, and said he plans to attend the March for Science in Ithaca on Saturday.
Granison said he believes in core Democratic principles, like “helping people who are lower income, working class to really stay above water,” he said.
When it comes to local issues, like dealing with unfunded mandates or studying overcapacity at the jail, Granison said he will bring level-headedness and his experience as a problem solver to the position of legislator. On the jail issue, which is being studied, he said he believes in finding ways to decrease the jail population rather than spending money on expanding.
Diversity is also a hallmark of his campaign, and he said he would like to see a more diverse workforce in Tompkins County.
“I want to represent a diversity of opinions of the 3rd District. I will strive to be an effective advocate for all members of my district,” Granison said in a statement.
Learn more about Granison on his Facebook page.
Featured image provided by Henry Granison.