This is a letter to the editor written by Dryden resident and former Tompkins County Legislator Martha Robertson. It was not written by The Ithaca Voice. To submit letters to the editor, please send them to Matt Butler at

On January 22, 1973, when the Supreme Court handed down the Roe V. Wade ruling, it was a snowy day in New York State. I was a student heading to Albany to lobby lawmakers to preserve New York’s law decriminalizing abortion, which had first passed in 1970. I was honored to work for Planned Parenthood 25 years ago, before being elected to the Tompkins County Legislature. That’s how long the fight for our reproductive rights has moved me to action.  

Fast forward to today, when that fight is front and center again. That’s why my priority now is electing the strongest possible advocates for our reproductive rights: Josh Riley to Congress (“new” District 19), Max Della Pia (Congressional District 23 special election), and Lea Webb to State Senate District 52.  

Why do I trust Josh, Max, and Lea to carry this fight to Washington and Albany?  

Josh Riley has deep roots in our new district, with a wide range of experience in federal court and Congress; for example, he filed briefs in federal court arguing for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. With his formidable knowledge and skills, he’ll hit the ground running for us on day one. In fact, Josh already has a detailed plan of action mapped out at  

Max Della Pia is carrying this message throughout our current Congressional district (through December 31), and into the General Election, where the opposition thinks politicians have the right to make women’s medical choices for them. With a transgender daughter, Max knows personally how threatened our rights are when Republicans hold elected office.  

Lea Webb, a two-term Binghamton City Councilperson, has been endorsed by both Planned Parenthood and Eleanor’s Legacy, the premiere pro-choice Democratic women’s organization in New York State. These endorsements are powerful testaments about Lea’s strength and qualifications as our best advocate to protect reproductive justice for all in New York State.  

Back in 1973 when I heard about Roe, I naively thought we’d “won.” Wow was I wrong! We’ll always have to fight for our rights, and that’s why we need to elect Josh Riley, Max Della Pia, and Lea Webb. Vote early August 13-21 or on Election Day, August 23.  

Martha Robertson  

Town of Dryden