ITHACA, N.Y.—Democrat Lea Webb, a former Binghamton City Councilwoman, announced her run for New York State Senate District 58 on Thursday in Dewitt Park.

The 58th District is currently represented by Republican Tom O’Mara, who is serving his fifth term. Webb joins a Democratic field that already includes political activist Leslie Danks Burke.

Webb is currently the diversity education coordinator at SUNY Binghamton University and previously served as an elected official on the Binghamton City Council, where she said she supported housing redevelopment, addressed food deserts by establishing community gardens and urban farms as well as aiding in a city-based human rights commission and enacted a city-wide climate action plan while supporting small businesses and job creation.

“I believe it’s important and necessary that we have leadership that is willing to fight and invest in you and in our community,” Webb said at her campaign announcement Thursday. “I have dedicated my life to being a passionate advocate, and my life is rooted in public service that is focused on social justice.”

Webb’s campaign interests include affordable housing, with an emphasis on non-profit housing developers and helping tenants stand up to absentee landlords; environment, with an interest in banning fracking, promoting green spaces and searching for alternative energy sources for farm communities in her hometown of Binghamton; healthcare, in support of the Affordable Care Act and the passage of the NY Health Act; jobs and economy, with a focus on small businesses and startups.

“The values that I learned growing up propelled me into community advocacy where I led efforts on various social and environmental issues, quality education, healthcare, access to fresh foods and sustainable jobs,” Webb said, in a Binghamton-centric speech held in DeWitt Park. 

In September the New York State Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC) released two drafts of congressional, assembly and state senate districts of New York, which, if enacted, could push the district including Tompkins County toward more Democratic election outcomes rather than keeping the Republican representation, as reported previously by the Ithaca Voice.

Webb said she did not know how redistricting might affect the race. 

“One of the things that I’m doing is trying to connect with different parts of the Southern Tier,” she said. “We’re all facing very similar issues so it’s for our leadership to really have a sense of what’s going on and what are those issues so we can collectively address them.”

Zoë Freer-Hessler

Zoë Freer-Hessler is a general assignment reporter for the Ithaca Voice. She has covered a wide range of topics since joining the news organization in November 2021. She can be reached at zhessler@ithacavoice.com...