This is a letter to the editor written by Ithaca Alderperson Phoebe Brown and former Alderperson Michelle Courtney Berry. It was not written by The Ithaca Voice. To submit letters to the editor, send them to Matt Butler at

We support Leslie Danks Burke in the Democratic primary for State Senate because we’ve known Leslie for ten and six years respectively, and we know how hard she works, without an elected title and even when no one is watching, to achieve progress across our region and across other lines that artificially divide people who truly have common interests.

Leslie believes voters always deserve a choice and political discourse can be civil, and so she encourages people to step up, run for local office, and be a part of the conversation. We have appreciated how Leslie does the work to get conservatives into the room for conversations about issues we care about, like the status of people who are incarcerated in the two prisons in the gerrymandered district she ran in before, and like moving away from corporation-centric economic planning that some Democrats and Republicans embrace, that pulls wages out of local workers’ pockets.

We see some members of Ithaca’s political elite lining up behind Leslie’s opponent, and we aren’t sure why that is because we haven’t seen her opponent doing the deep outreach and intensive work across the region, that we’ve seen Leslie do consistently over many years.

To us, it’s important to elect someone with long experience on regional issues and a track record of achieving progressive goals in conservative turf. We want Leslie Danks Burke’s strong voice representing us in Albany.

Signed: Michelle Courtney Berry, former Ithaca Common Councilmember and Phoebe Brown, Ithaca Common Councilmember