ITHACA, N.Y. — Second Ward  Alderperson Seph Murtagh has announced he will seek re-election to Ithaca Common Council.

Murtagh is in his second term on Common Council. In a news release issued Thursday, Murtagh said some of the top issues he is interested in are housing, jobs and policing.

“With [Second Ward] projects like Breckenridge, 210 Hancock, and the forthcoming Dewitt House and ReUse Center expansion, we’ve made some progress at expanding our housing supply, but it’s not enough,” Murtagh said in a statement. “Too many residents, young and old, are getting pushed out of the city as they struggle to afford the high cost of housing. We need a comprehensive housing strategy to tackle these problems – continuing to shift our planning strategies away from suburban-style sprawl towards compact, mixed-use development that grows our tax base in a balanced, intelligent, and humane way.”

Murtagh said some of the highlights from his first two terms have been “reforming Ithaca’s sidewalk program, sticking up for affordable housing throughout the Second Ward, launching a successful initiative to address vacant and unsafe properties, supporting community policing reforms, fighting to protect the waterfront, and championing the community gardens. He said he also works hard on community engagement.”

Murtagh said another important area is policing. He said the Ithaca Police Department has made progress in recent years reaching out to the community, and he said the city needs a new police chief that will continue that work. He also said the city needs to implement recommendations from the city’s drug policy plan, the Ithaca Plan.

“We also need to implement the recommendations from the Ithaca Plan. Our community continues to suffer from an extremely serious drug epidemic, with tragic consequences for individuals and their families. We need to establish a Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion program and set up a detox facility in Ithaca, so that individuals can get the treatment they need,” Murtagh said.

Murtagh serves as the alternate acting mayor and chairs the Planning and Economic Development Committee. He is also the Common Council liaison to the Greater Ithaca Activities Center, the Downtown Ithaca Alliance and the Ithaca Landmarks Preservation Committee.

Alderperson Ducson Nguyen, who is chairing Murtagh’s campaign, endorsed Murtagh and said he has seen his dedication to serve the public up close.

“His productive working relationship with city staff means he effectively advocates for constituents and gets things done. In the past year alone, I’ve watched Seph fight to protect the waterfront as Planning and Development Committee chair, successfully fight for traffic calming and pedestrian safety measures, and work with police to address public safety concerns. I’ve seen how quickly he responds to inquiries, his willingness to meet with constituents on any issue, and his deep understanding of the consequences of choosing one path over another,” Nguyen said in a statement.

Murtagh will seek the Democratic and Working Families Party lines.

Learn more about Murtagh on his website, www.sephmurtagh.com.

View election district maps here.

Featured image provided by Seph Murtagh.

Kelsey O'Connor

Kelsey O'Connor is the managing editor for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at koconnor@ithacavoice.com and follow her on Twitter @bykelseyoconnor.