ITHACA, N.Y. –– Like several of his colleagues, Tompkins County Legislator David McKenna announced last week that he will not seek re-election in 2021.

McKenna’s announcement, which comes on the heels of Legislator Leslyn McBean-Clairborne and Legislator Martha Robertson both announcing they will not seek re-election either, was made during last Tuesday’s county legislature meeting.

“I’ve had a good time doing this,” McKenna said at the meeting. “It’s now somebody else’s turn.”  

This year marks the end of three terms for McKenna, during which the Republican official represented Tompkins District Eight, which includes the Town of Newfield and the portion of Enfield south of the Route 79 centerline. 

“I’m sorry you’re not running,” said Legislator Anne Koreman, who shares Enfield representative duties with McKenna.  “I’ve enjoyed working with you and learning from you.”  Koreman added that the two represented Enfield “pretty seamlessly.” 

Koreman serves Enfield residents from Route 79 north, plus Ulysses and part of the Town of Ithaca.

A former mechanical engineer, McKenna was first elected to the legislature in 2009 and over the last 12 years has served on the Planning, Energy, and Environmental Quality Committee and on the special Broadband Committee that sought to bring high-speed internet to rural Tompkins.

He is currently the Vice-Chair of the Facilities and Infrastructure Committee, regulating prices for waste management amongst other things and is on the Downtown Facilities Committee, charged with laying plans for some 20 Million Dollars in capital improvements, including a new County Office Building on Tioga Street.

McKenna has been a reliable vote when it comes to representing a more conservative agenda including putting ride-share apps on a trial basis and voting against making Ithaca a sanctuary city. McKenna’s conservative voting record represented a minority in local government, being one of only three Republicans on the county legislature. 

All seats on the legislature will be up for reelection, with voting taking place later this year. There will also be a special election on March 23 to fill the District Two Legislature seat recently vacated by Anna Kelles, who was elected as a New York State Assemblywoman. Anyone interested in running for county legislature will need to petition this March to compete in a June primary for party nominations. 

For more information visit the Tompkins Board of Elections site here.

Anna Lamb

Anna Lamb is a reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at