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TOMPKINS COUNTY LEGISLATURE

Governor Daniel D. Tompkins Building
121 E. Court Street
Ithaca, NY  14850
(607) 274-5434
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Tompkins County Legislator

Leslyn McBean-Clairborne

Leslyn McBean-Clairborne (D)

District 1, City of Ithaca

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First elected in 2001, Leslyn McBean-Clairborne is now in her fourth elected term, representing the 1st Legislative District in the City of Ithaca. In 2006, Leslyn was elected by her colleagues on the legislature to serve as vice chairperson of the Legislature, a position she held for three years. As a legislator, Leslyn formerly chaired the Facilities and Infrastructure, the Public Safety and the Health and Human Services Committees. She currently chairs the Workforce Diversity and Inclusion Committee of the Legislature. Leslyn also works as the Executive Director of the Greater Ithaca Activities Center (GIAC), a large multicultural community center in the City of Ithaca that serves all ages through a variety of programs focused on social and individual development.

Throughout her career, Leslyn has been a champion for youth services and a strong advocate for human rights. She has brought forth and supported legislation related to the Safe Act, Keeping Families Together Act, against the death penalty, reducing solitary confinement, and making Tompkins County a living wage employer. Leslyn continues to be a strong voice for a living wage for everyone; safe, quality, affordable housing; alternatives to incarceration programs; and the rights of employees to unionize. Having migrated to the USA as an adult from a developing country, she is keenly aware of and involved with issues of immigration reform. Leslyn knows all too well the issues of poverty, food insecurity, and the need for affordable health care for all. She balances this knowledge with an understanding of the need for reasonable tax support of public services without putting intolerable pressures on family and individual incomes.

When not working in the political arena, Leslyn is involved in planning and implementing two annual Tompkins County African-American Heritage Celebrations for Juneteenth and Kwanzaa. In 2003, she was instrumental in the development, and still conducts tours, of the Historic Southside African- American Heritage Walking Tour. She chaired the City of Ithaca Martin Luther King Freedom Walkway Implementation Committee, a group that in 2009 brought to fruition the dual designation of former State Street as Martin Luther King, Jr., Street as well as the Dr. King sculpture that is currently on the Commons. She also is involved on working committees to address issues of drug reform and eliminating the economic, educational and social gaps faced by young boys and girls of color.  

Educated both abroad and domestically, Leslyn holds a Masters of Business Administration with a certificate in Human Resource Management and Bachelors of Science degrees in K-12 Education and in Intercultural Communication/Adult Education. Originally from Guyana, South America, Leslyn has lived in Ithaca for over 25 years. She lives with her husband J.R. Clairborne, a former Ithaca City Alderman, and is mother to Julius, Kelsey and Indira.

Legislators are elected and serve for four years. Current terms run from 2014 through 2017.