ITHACA, N.Y. –– Local event coordinator Katt Hass (better known as “Double T”) has announced his candidacy for Common Council representing the Second Ward –– doubling the field of candidates for the ward’s seat, as activist Phoebe Brown is also vying for the position.
“I’m running for Common Council because I believe the community deserves representation that is empathetic, accountable and proactive in finding integrative solutions that are rooted in equity,” Hass said. “Second Ward residents deserve representation that is tactful, tenacious, and adaptive in the quest to empower and uplift the voices of the community –– I believe I can be the megaphone for the voices previously left out.”
Hass (pronouns he/him and they/them) is an openly transgender local “community events producer” and an advocate for farming practices that strive to mitigate climate change known as “regenerative farming.” He has worked as Assistant Director of the Ithaca Festival in 2019 and continues to volunteer with the organization. He also does community class instruction with Groundswell Center for Local Food & Farming and has worked as the production manager and a co-producer of the recurring pop-up consent-oriented nightclub event “Pop’d At the Cherry” since 2018. Additionally, Hass works with several grassroots initiatives across Ithaca, such as The Advocacy Center of Tompkins County, The Sophie Fund, Downtown Ithaca Alliance, Planned Parenthood of Greater New York, Tompkins Anti-Racist Coalition and GO Ithaca as a Sustainable Transit Ambassador.
“When Katt Hass told me they had decided to run for Common Council, I was thrilled! Having worked with Katt across various community events, I know firsthand the commitment, organizational skills, and enthusiasm that they bring to every project they approach. Katt’s work ethic and dedication to our community is evident through their thorough volunteer and advocacy work across Ithaca and its organizations. I look forward to Katt bringing these same traits to even more Ithacans during the next election cycle,” Scott Rougeau, special events director at the Downtown Ithaca Alliance said.
Hass, in the announcement of his candidacy, said he prides himself on his Jewish-Italian lineage and urban roots. “Born and raised in a working-poor bilingual household in Detroit, he has tacit and tangible lived experience with several forms of systemic injustices –– homelessness, food insecurity, gentrification, defunded public transit and education –– and the community resilience and cooperation requisite to persevere,” the announcement states. Hass said he is also a survivor of domestic violence and, “has firsthand experience in IPD’s lackadaisical response to domestic abuse cases.” He said he believes these experiences are key lessons of determination and continued effort towards compassionate justice.
“I’m ecstatic to be able to write an endorsement for Katt Hass for Common Council! As a local farmer, business owner and non-profit volunteer for several food-insecurity-based organizations the past 15 years, I can’t emphasize enough what a strong voice and vision Katt Hass will bring to Common Council. Their farming work, event planning, and mountains of volunteer and advocacy work speaks volumes to their character, dedication, and well-being towards our community. I look forward to every resident of Ithaca having the option to vote for Double T in this next election cycle,” Heather Sandford, formerly of The Piggery, said.
Hass’s platform skews left and according to his campaign looks to address issues and initiatives, “that impact the communities of the Second Ward” including but not limited to:
- Housing Inequity & the Rising Housing Crisis: fighting for rent control, an expansion of Section 8 housing, and advocating for a decreased reliance on increasing property taxes in favor of alternative progressive taxation methods. Additionally, Hass will push for the establishment of city-sanctioned homeless encampments, similar to California’s Safe Sleeping Villages, to alleviate certain survival burdens laid upon our growing homeless population.
- Community Relations with Police: advocating for a defunding of the Ithaca Police department, with a reinvestment in the community. This includes, but is not limited to: establishing unarmed mobile crisis response units that are trained in de-escalation processes, domestic violence awareness, and mental health work; investing and expanding outreach & empowerment programs of community centers, such as GIAC’s HETP and Southside Community Center’s CUMEP.
- Equity and Affordability in the Implementation of the Ithaca Green New Deal: fighting for Green Initiatives to align with Kirby Edmunds’ vision of the Cradle to Career initiative; an expansion of community gardens and compost facilities to be implemented across Ithaca neighborhoods as a form of food sovereignty and critical accessibility; an expansion of accessible public transit and alternative transit options.
- Community Health Crises Expansions: in particular, the actuation of a Safe-Injection Site as a means of expanding public access to healthcare and loss of life prevention for some of our most at-risk community members.
Hass’ team will soon be circulating petitions to get his name on the ballot.
“I encourage everyone to register to vote and/or check your voter registration if you haven’t already. You have a place in politics; you matter in local politics. This is your moment to hold our governing system accountable and make progressive change,” he said.