ITHACA, N.Y. — City of Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick announced his endorsement of Alderperson Seph Murtagh in the race for the 125th Assembly District Thursday morning.

From Press Bay Alley, on Green Street in downtown Ithaca, Myrick said it was his work ethic, which Myrick has come to know firsthand working with Murtagh in city government, that earned him Myrick’s endorsement.

We’ve argued with each other. We’ve been on the same side of some issues. We’ve been on the opposite side of other issues. And the sum total of that experience that I have the utmost respect, trust, confidence and frankly, affection for Seph Murtagh,” said Myrick. “He’s a he’s a native son of this community. And I know if we send him to Albany, he’s going to make us proud and he’s going to be the progressive voice that we need to represent our interests.”

Myrick, who worked for one of Barbara Lifton’s re-election campaigns early in his political career, believes that, as the district’s largest city, Ithaca has a vested interest in who is advocating on its behalf in Albany when Lifton retires at the end of 2020.

“The race to replace her is very important to us. It matters very much who represents our interests in Albany. We need somebody who is progressive, somebody who’s going to champion the environment. Somebody is going to fight for more affordable housing and lower taxes. Somebody who works hard, who has a work ethic that just radiates off of them, takes every constituent e-mail seriously. Somebody who looked up to by their peers, respected by their colleagues,” said Myrick. “We need City Councilman Seph Murtagh to represent us in the New York 125th Assembly District. I’m very proud to endorse him.”

Murtagh successfully ran for the City of Ithaca Common Council the same year that Myrick successfully ran for mayor. Before he “joined the dark side,” as Myrick put it, he covered city government as a reporter for the Ithaca Times. For the last 8 years, he has represented the city’s 2nd Ward on Common Council. He also works as Lifton’s communications coordinator and has worked for the nine-term assemblymember for the last 5 years. He is chair of the Planning and Economic Development Committee.

We have a lot of challenges across 125th Assembly District, crumbling roads and bridges. We have people who are looking for good-paying jobs, for affordable child care, for affordable housing. We have a growing climate threat that’s already having huge ramifications both globally and locally. Cities and local governments are at the frontlines of trying to solve these problems,” said Murtagh. “But the truth is that cities and local communities, local governments can’t do this on their own. They need to help of the state of New York. And that’s why I think it’s so important that the next person who represents us in the assembly be somebody who has the skills, local government experience and who can lift up those local voices so that they’re heard in the halls of power.”

Murtagh will have to navigate a crowded primary field that includes former Legislative Counsel to Barbara Lifton, Jordan Lesser, Cortland’s Lisa Hoeschele, City of Ithaca Alderperson Seph Murtagh, Dryden Town Supervisor Jason Leifer, Cortland County Legislator Beau Harbin, and local attorney Sujata Gibson, who have also announced their candidacy.

Petitions have began to be circulated for candidates to appear on the primary ballot. Those petitions are due April 2, ahead of the primary election will take place June 23 ahead of the general election on Nov. 3