Letter to the Editor: 'Governor Cuomo needs to stop experimenting and start fully funding education'

Beau Harbin

Our education system works when it is fully and fairly funded, and when our teachers are treated like the professionals they are. Our children learn so much more than facts in school - they learn to be part of a community. Our schools are so much more than buildings - they are the center of our communities. Governor Cuomo - fund our schools like they must be and watch our children flourish. We don't need another experiment.

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Appalachia Responds to COVID-19: A Facebook Live Roundtable


Earlier this week, six Appalachian Leadership Institute Fellows and elected local officials - Luke Glaser, Beau Harbin, Josh Sawyers, Denny Wayne Robinson, Jesse Turner, and Laura White-Brown - gathered on ARC's Facebook page for a live roundtable discussion about Appalachian communities to COVID-19. The panel was moderated by one of the Institute’s faculty members, Bruce Decker of Collective Impact.

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Beau Harbin Receives Moms Demand Action Gun Sense Candidate Distinction


I am thankful that our campaign has been awarded the 2020 Moms Demand Action Gun Sense Candidate distinction for my long-standing commitment to gun violence prevention.

I am proud of my record of advocating and voting for common sense gun violence prevention actions. I am one of the few candidates in this race who has directly confronted the scheming of the Gun Lobby and who has voted consistently against their attempts to roll back gun violence prevention laws. I vow to continue this proven, principled and progressive record on common sense gun safety if elected to the New York Assembly.

Moms Demand Action is part of Everytown for Gun Safety, and is the nation’s largest grassroots volunteer network working to end gun violence in America. With nearly six million supporters and volunteer chapters in every state, Moms Demand Action campaigns for new and stronger solutions to lax gun laws and loopholes that jeopardize the safety of our families.

A Message from Beau Harbin, Cortland County Legislator: “Be prepared, not scared.”

Beau Harbin

Dear Friends,

This is an unsettling time for our country and our community, as we are in a public health emergency due to the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Your elected leaders and public health officials are working around the clock to slow the spread of the virus and provide care to those who need it. It is important to remember that we need to be prepared, not scared. Heed the advice of public health experts who agree that the most effective way to “flatten the curve,” or slow the spread of the virus, is to practice social distancing. Below is some helpful information regarding COVID-19:

How can you be infected?

• Coronavirus can spread from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Because these droplets can travel up to six feet, public health experts advise maintaining six feet of distance from others.

• The virus can also remain on a surface or object and enter the body through the mouth, nose, or eyes. This is why it is important to wash your hands before touching your face.

How long does it take to show symptoms after being infected?

• It takes 2 to 14 days to develop symptoms after exposure to the virus. The average is about 5 days.

What are the symptoms?

• Fever

• Dry cough

• Shortness of breath

When should you seek testing?

• If you are exhibiting symptoms

• If you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for the coronavirus

• If you have recently traveled to one of the high-risk countries

Except in the case of an emergency, please call your healthcare provider before seeking treatment in person.

While it is normal to feel anxious, there are ways to take control of the situation and be prepared. I urge you to take the following precautions to keep yourself and our community safe.

• Wash your hands often and for at least 20 seconds

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth

• Avoid physical contact like handshakes and hugs

• Stay home if you feel sick

• Avoid large crowds

• Abstain from unnecessary travel

What is the difference between “Safer at Home” and “social distancing”?

Safer at Home is a stricter form of social distancing. There are some differences. Safer at Home means:

• Stay home (stay unexposed and do not expose others)

• Only go out for essential services

• Stay six feet or more away from others

• Don’t gather in groups

Cortland County in conjunction with County Emergency Management has established a phone bank to answer questions about COVID-19. The number is 607-756-3415. Call this number for general questions regarding County services, and other information. Calls will be answered from 8:30 AM to 4PM daily. This line will supplement the existing 211 number which can also help individuals locate whatever services they may need.

It is important during this national emergency that we unite as a community, follow the advice of experts, and take responsibility for our actions to #SlowTheSpread of coronavirus. For more information, visit or call the NYS Novel Coronavirus Hotline at 1-888-364-3065.

If I can be of any help, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at, cell phone: 607.275.492, Facebook:, or Twitter: @bacharbin.

Thank you!


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“Fund SUNY Now”: Rally in Cortland demands more out of Albany (audio)


Afternoon showers forced yesterday’s (March 3) rally indoors at SUNY Cortland, where an event originally planned for the steps of Corey Union took place inside the building’s main function room.

Officials with United University Professions (UUP) joined dozens of students, faculty and community members inside Corey Union to call on more state funding that would fill an estimated $75M gap in the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP).

TAP helps SUNY students afford an education who wouldn’t otherwise be able to. SUNY Cortland allots $2.8 million each year to cover the TAP Gap, the 10th highest payout among SUNY’s 29 state-operated campuses.

One of those who spoke at the rally was Cortland County Legislator and State Assembly Candidate Beau Harbin, who represents the city district where the college’s main campus is located.

His wife is also chair of the SUNY Cortland English Department and a member of UUP.

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Local-Level Lawmakers: Keep New York Bail Reform Law Intact

Nick Reisman

A coalition of local government lawmakers on Tuesday are set to release a letter urging top elected officials in state government to not alter the cash bail law.

The measure ends cash bail requirements for those facing misdemeanor and non-violent felonies. It has become a focal point of controversy for law enforcement and Republican lawmakers, who have pointed to the release of people facing charges for crimes like robbery.

Supporters of the law, however, contend opposition has beens stoked by fear mongering and sensationalism.

"New York’s bail law was never designed to protect the public from supposedly dangerous people," the lawmakers wrote in the letter. "As you well know, the only reason to set bail in New York State is to ensure that the accused returns to court proceedings. Our former system served only criminalized poverty and let people that our system supposedly considered innocent languish in jails. This botched system contributed to mass incarceration and cost our local communities millions of dollars a year in jail costs."

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Beau Harbin of Cortland discusses his candidacy for NY Assembly 125th District. [Audio]

Fred Balfour

We’re joined in the studio by Cortland’s Beau Harbin. He recently announced his bid to represent the 125th district in the New York State Assembly. Current assembly person Barbara Lifton announced her resignation earlier this month after 18 years representing Tompkins and part of Cortland counties.

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Beau Harbin Announces Candidacy for NYS Assembly 125th District - Minority Leader of Cortland County Legislature Enters Race for NYS Assembly


10 February 2020 — As I listened to Barbara Lifton make her announcement that she was not seeking another term as our Assemblywoman, I was stuck by the incredible legacy of leadership and progressive values she has left on our district. She has done many things for our community and fought many fights to help make our region and our state better. I knew then that her legacy needed to continue with someone dedicated to these same values.

So today, I am announcing my candidacy for the New York State Assembly 125th District, in order to ensure this legacy continues. I understand what it takes to lead on progressive values in a rural Central New York community: leadership that brings people together, protects our most vulnerable citizens, and keeps our community safe and welcoming to all.

I am intimately familiar with the issues facing rural communities, college towns, and post-industrial centers. I was born in Flint, Michigan, raised in Charlottesville, Virginia, and live in Cortland, New York. I have worked for over 20 years as an IT leader and am currently managing an international team of consultants and a global training operation for an international software company. My wife and I moved our family to Cortland 12 years ago so she could take a faculty position with SUNY Cortland. Since moving here, I’ve rolled up my sleeves and gotten involved, twice serving as president of the parent’s organization at my children’s school, then served as Vice Chair of the Cortland City Zoning Board of Appeals. I decided I could contribute further to the community by running for the County Legislature, and since winning my seat twice, I have served on numerous legislative committees (Chair of Buildings and Grounds; Judiciary and Public Safety; Agriculture, Planning and Environment to name a few), and recently was selected to be the Legislature’s Minority Leader. I have become a board member for both the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Cortland County and the Cortland County Planning Board, as well as serving as the Vice Chair for the Southern Tier 8 Regional Planning Board.

In my time on the Cortland County Legislature, I have consistently stood up for what is right and just and have fought the hard battles to ensure we did not leave people behind. I have pushed for open and transparent government to make sure everyone is aware of and understands what decisions are being made. I have led opposition against resolutions and motions that would seek to undermine our democratic ideals and continue to force people to hide in the shadows. I have promoted solutions for our community on climate change, smart economic development, and good government. Great ideas come from many places, which is why I have been actively involved in working with other leaders across our state. Also, as an Appalachian Leadership Institute fellow, I have collaborated with leaders across the larger Appalachian region in order to see how our shared issues can be addressed. I believe strongly in the idea that government, in conjunction with private and not-for-profit partners, can be a positive force for good and a protector in our community, our state, and our nation.

Looking forward to the proposed 2021 budget for New York, there is much to be proud of and excited about. Significant investments and attention will be given to environmental protection, climate change, infrastructure, cannabis legalization and more. We will need a strong advocate for our district to work tirelessly to ensure that these benefits reach our community. Too often the direction of spending on tax dollars benefits communities downstate, and I will strongly advocate for our Upstate region. In addition, there are many critically important issues missing from the budget and from the Governor’s priorities. Why aren’t we expanding and investing in childcare and in universal pre-K education for all NY children? Why is the cost of education continuing to climb and our schools continue to be underfunded? Why aren’t we eliminating the digital divide by ensuring rural broadband expansion? Why is the expansion and investment in affordable housing through renovation of older housing stock or smart development of new affordable housing getting more attention? And why are we not focused on delivering on the most critical issue for all New York families: covering all residents' healthcare through the NY York Health Act? So many of these critical needs for our district are not being addressed or are being lost in the voices from downstate. I will be our vocal advocate in Albany to bring attention to these issues and will work hard to make sure our community is well represented.

Beau Harbin Receives National Recognition: Named a Bold Progressive Champion by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee

Sept 2, 2019
Progressive Change Campaign Committee

2 Sept 2019 — Beau Harbin, who is running for Cortland County Legislator for LD 2 in the City of Cortland, was named a 2019 Champion by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which recognizes candidates from around the country who are fighting for progressive priorities and looking out for the needs of everyday families.

“Our 2019 Champions across the country are committed to solving big problems affecting their communities,” said Marissa Barrow, a spokesperson for the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. “Selected for their bold vision, these candidates are highly capable leaders ready to make change.”

"The candidates on our Champions List are running great campaigns powered by the grassroots, not corporate interests," said Stephanie Taylor, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. "We're proud to support them as they take power back for their communities and turn big ideas into action for working families."

“The lack of financial responsibility of many past Legislatures is finally catching up with Cortland. As we focus on making tough choices for the coming years, I continue to be committed to defending our most vulnerable citizens, advocating for all City residents, and fighting to preserve our safe and welcoming community.”

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) is a million-member grassroots organization building power at the local, state, and federal levels, and advocating for economic populist priorities like expanding Social Security, debt-free college, Wall Street reform, and Medicare for All. The PCCC has raised over $29 million to support progressive candidates and committees from small-dollar, grassroots donations, including $1.1 million to support Elizabeth Warren’s Senate run in 2012. Last cycle, PCCC supported nearly 1200 candidates at the federal, state and local level across the country. Find out more at

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Appalachian Regional Commission Names Beau Harbin as Appalachian Leadership Institute Fellow

Sept 25, 2019

Beau Harbin to Represent New York in Intensive Regional Leadership Development Program

Cortland, New York, Sept 25, 2019 – The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) named Beau Harbin, Cortland County Legislator, to participate in the inaugural class of the Appalachian Leadership Institute.

As a Fellow, Beau Harbin will participate in the Appalachian Leadership Institute, an extensive nine-month program of skill-building seminars, best practice reviews, field visits, mentoring, and networking. The curriculum will be anchored by six multi-day seminars around the region with the first sessions taking place in Morehead, Kentucky October 21-24, 2019. Subsequent training sessions will be held in Dalton, Georgia; Starkville, Mississippi; Beckley, West Virginia; Boone, North Carolina; Jamestown, New York; followed by a capstone graduation in Washington, DC in July, 2020.

“Cortland County is fortunate that Beau has been named to the ALI,” said Garry L. VanGorder, executive director of the Cortland County Business Development Corporation and Industrial Development Agency. “He’s astute, hard-working, and has the best interests of the community in mind. I’m looking forward to the fresh perspectives he will bring to our collective efforts to grow the community and the local economy.”

“I am thrilled Beau will be representing Cortland County and New York State as an Appalachian Leadership Institute Fellow,” said Darren “Hal” McCabe, Mayor of the Village of Homer and Director of the New York State Senate Legislative Commission on Rural Resources. “He clearly has a grasp of the critical issues faced by New York and by the Appalachian Region overall. I know he will do a great job connecting Cortland County to our sister counties throughout Appalachia.”

As part of the Appalachian Leadership Institute, Beau Harbin will work directly with public policy, community development, education, investment, and other professionals who live and/or work in the Region to:

• Design effective economic development project proposals

• Integrate community assets into long-lasting economic development strategies

• Identify resources available to spur economic development

• Locate and access investment capital from a variety of public and private sources

• Prepare competitive applications for public grant opportunities

• Use expanded leadership skills to create strong coalitions

Upon completion of the program, Beau Harbin will automatically become part of the Appalachian Leadership Institute Network, a peer-to-peer working group committed to Appalachia’s future.

“Our hope is that the Appalachian Leadership Institute will help develop leadership and problem solving, bring advancement, and grow greater prosperity in the Region,” said ARC Federal Co-Chairman Tim Thomas. “Leadership is the essential foundation on which all of our collective efforts to enhance Appalachia rest.”

Beau Harbin was selected via a competitive application process. ARC received 180 applications for the 2019-2020 Appalachian Leadership Institute class, resulting in an acceptance rate of 22 percent. Applications for the 2020-2021 class will open in March, 2020.

The Appalachian Leadership Institute is a comprehensive regional leadership training program developed by the Appalachian Regional Commission in partnership with the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; The Howard H. Baker Center for Public Policy; Tuskegee University; and Collective Impact. More information about the Appalachian Leadership Institute is available at

About the Appalachian Regional Commission

The Appalachian Regional Commission ( is an economic development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 420 counties across the Appalachian Region. ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia to help the Region achieve socioeconomic parity with the nation.

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