ITHACA, N.Y. — Three Tompkins County legislators have endorsed Seph Murtagh for the Democratic nomination for New York State Assembly District 125.

Legislators Rich John, Amanda Champion and Dan Klein join a growing group of supporters for Murtagh, including 20 former and current City of Ithaca Alderpersons, Mayor Svante Myrick, the Ithaca chapter of the International Association of Fire Fighters, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the former chair of the Tompkins County Democratic Committee, Irene Stein.

“Ithacans have a good reputation for intense and vocal involvement in local development issues,” John said. “That spirit is part of what makes Ithaca a great place to live. Managing change in this environment takes listening, judgment, and the ability to remain aware of the big picture. Seph has been a steady and central player in managing this transformative growth in our local economy. He has been thoughtful, patient, realistic and accessible.”

Murtagh is one of seven Democrats vying for the nomination after current Assemblymember Barbara Lifton announced that she would not seek a tenth term earlier this year. He has served as Alderperson for Ward 2 since 2012. He also chairs the Planning and Economic Development Committee and is one of the city’s alternate acting mayors.

“Seph understands the issues facing our community and stands for the same progressive values I believe in,” Champion said. “He is passionate about serving the people of this district, and is the steady, humble, honest person we need to fight for us in Albany.”

Klein referenced Murtagh’s leadership in the Ithaca Common Council and Murtagh’s work as a member of Lifton’s staff — which benefits him in being knowledgeable of state issues — in his endorsement.

“He’s an excellent listener and takes his time to understand all sides of an issue before moving forward,” he said. “He has a very pragmatic approach to governing, as well as a strong track record of fighting and delivering on progressive issues. He’s good at collaborating with people, and his calm, balanced leadership is just the thing we need during a time of such unprecedented crisis.”

The New York State 125th Assembly District democratic primary also includes former Legislative Counsel to Barbara Lifton, Jordan Lesser, Cortland’s Lisa Hoeschele, Tompkins County Legislator Anna Kelles, Dryden Town Supervisor Jason Leifer, Cortland County Legislator Beau Harbin, and local attorney Sujata Gibson. Eligible voters can vote via absentee ballot due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and those ballots must be postmarked by June 23. If voters choose to cast their ballot in person, Tompkins County has early voting from June 13 to June 21, and in-person voting will take place on June 23. 

Madison Fernandez

Madison Fernandez is a contributing reporter at the Ithaca Voice. You can reach her by email at