CORTLAND, N.Y. — A fifth candidate has announced for the Democratic Primary to fill the New York State Assembly seat being vacated by the retiring Barbara Lifton.

Lisa Hoeschele, Executive Director and CEO of Family & Children’s Counseling Services, one of the region’s largest mental health care providers, announced she will run from Courthouse Park in Cortland on Tuesday.

She believes that whoever ends up in the seat, opening after Assemblymember Barbara Lifton announced her retirement, must build on the legacy of the seat’s former occupants.

“This seat has been held by a very long time by Barbara Lifton, who is a committed public servant and a good friend,” said Hoeschele. “I feel as though the next person to win this seat will be standing on her shoulders and the shoulders of Marty Luster, who really worked to build on everything we believe as Democrats.”

From a policy perspective, Hoeschele says that improving the delivery of health care, making education more affordable and equitable and addressing climate change would be her priorities in Albany, should the voters of Cortland and Tompkins County choose to send her.

“Better health care, more affordable health care. A higher education system that supports our students and doesn’t drown them in debt and I’m really concerned with climate change. In a climate where we are literally seeing our forests burn before us and our glaciers melting before our very eyes, we do what we can as new yorkers to make change there.”

Hoeschele earned her master’s degree in public administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University with a concentration in non-profit management. She has worked as a fundraiser for Tompkins Cortland Community College, WCNY-TV/Classic-FM and Syracuse University/SU College of Law. She is also a licensed financial planner at Legend Equities in Syracuse. She is a former president of the Cortland Enlarged School District president, as well as with local organizations including the Onondaga Historical Association, Partners for Arts Education, the Cortland YWCA, the Cortland Family YMCA, the Cortland County Community Services Board and the state-wide Mental Health Clinic Fiscal-Viability Task Force.

in addition to her responsibilities with Family & Children’s Counseling Services, Hoeschele now serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the Homer Center 4 the Arts and the Cortland Community Foundation and is currently president of the New York State Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare.

Hoeschele joins City of Ithaca Alderperson Seph Murtagh, Dryden Town Supervisor Jason Leifer, Tompkins County Legislator Anna Kelles and Cortland County Legislator Beau Harbin in announcing their candidacy.

Petitions to appear on the ballot will begin circulating on Feb. 25 and are due to the Board of Elections between March 30 and April 2. The primary election will take place June 23 ahead of the general election on Nov. 3