ITHACA, N.Y.—Ithaca resident Robert G. Cantelmo has announced he is running for Common Council’s open Fifth Ward seat after Alderperson Deb Mohlenoff announced she would not be seeking another term.

Cantelmo hails from the Hudson Valley in New York, but moved to Ithaca in 2017 to pursue his Ph.D. in Government at Cornell University. Cantelmo has also served on the Public Safety and Information Commission since 2019, first joining as a member and now ascending to the position of chairperson.

During his time working on the city commission, Cantelmo said that he had been glad to work with Mohlenoff and that it had sparked a continued interest in local government.

“I am running because I care deeply about serving our community,” he said in his announcement. “Our city faces important challenges from implementing a needed economic recovery and meeting our commitments to environmental sustainability, to addressing our housing crisis and reforming community policing. My campaign is about developing solutions rooted in open dialogue with members of the community and supported by evidence-based policymaking.”

He has a further history with public service, having spent time working in foreign aid and education design for curriculum in the Middle East and South Asia.

“I begin my campaign,” Cantelmo said.” with a firm commitment to public service, rigorous research, and a sympathetic ear. I am eager to listen to your concerns as I move forward with the campaign.”

Matt Butler

Matt Butler is the Managing Editor at the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached by email at