Cornell student Tiffany Chen Kumar wins primary in Ithaca Common Council race
Cornell student and progressive activist Tiffany Chen Kumar won the Democratic nomination to represent Collegetown on Ithaca’s Common Council Tuesday night.
Kumar will run unopposed in the November general election. She is all but certain to represent Ithaca's 4th Ward, which encompasses the Collegetown area around Cornell’s main campus.
Kumar ran as part of the progressive “Solidarity Slate" and has the support of the Working Families Party. She won more than 70% of the vote, ousting incumbent and fellow Cornell undergrad, Patrick Mehler.
Mehler was appointed as alderperson last year after his predecessor, Steven Smith moved away from Ithaca.
Kumar moved to Ithaca from Washington, D.C. last year after transferring to Cornell. She has been involved with the Ithaca Tenants Union and Ithaca Democratic Socialists of America. She has centered her campaign around housing and tenants' rights.
I’m honored to grow the @IthSolidarity slate & join Ithaca’s Common Council. Our people-powered campaign put another @NYWFP, @DemSocialists, & @ithacaTU elected in office. From the bottom of my heart, thank you thank you thank you.— Tiffany Chen Kumar (@AlderwomanKumar) June 29, 2022
Let’s get some real work done. For the people. pic.twitter.com/RYyyY03YrM
"We're not going to let moderates sit comfortably and complacently while working families face rising rents, climate chaos and deficient infrastructure," Kumar said in a victory speech posted on her campaign Twitter.
In an interview with the Ithaca Voice, Kumar said, if elected, she wants tostay in Ithaca after graduation.
109 voters cast ballots, putting turnout at around 15%, typical for the neighborhood. Despite its density, Collegetown has historically low turnout compared to the rest of the city. Many of the residents are students and away for the summer.
Kumar will serve a one-year term on the Common Council.