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Ian Phillips to step down as Cayuga County Democratic chair

Elections 11.JPG

Cayuga County Democratic Committee Chairman Ian Phillips looks at the results during election night in Auburn in 2019.

Ian Phillips, who has served as chairman of the Cayuga County Democratic Committee for more than six years, will step down later this month. 

Phillips announced Thursday that he will formally relinquish the post at the committee's meeting on June 15. At that meeting, a new chairperson will be elected to serve the remainder of Phillips' term, which ends in September 2022. 

"The Democratic committee is in as strong a position as it has ever been," Phillips said in a statement. "I am really proud and thankful for all of the volunteers and elected officials that I've been privileged to work with over the last eight years, the last six as chair. I look forward to remaining involved and seeing what a new set of eyes and expertise can bring to this role." 

As chair, Phillips led efforts to get local Democrats elected to office. In 2015, Democrats won contested races to hold every seat on the Auburn City Council and gain majority control of the Cayuga County Legislature for the first time. 

According to the committee, Cayuga is the only New York county with a Republican enrollment advantage that has a Democratic-led Legislature. 

Cayuga County Legislature Chairwoman Aileen McNabb-Coleman, who was first elected in 2015, credited Phillips with building a base of volunteers that assisted local candidates. 

"Not only has Ian successfully worked with candidates, he has educated and engaged the broader community in the vetting and campaigning process here in Cayuga County in order to ensure a strong support system for candidates," she said. "Personally, I would like to thank Ian for his time and commitment to electing diverse and effective candidates for local offices at every level." 

State Sen. John Mannion, who represents parts of Cayuga and Onondaga counties, also praised Phillips. When Mannion first ran for state Senate in 2018, Phillips was his campaign manager. 

While Mannion narrowly lost that race, he tried again last year and was elected to represent the 50th Senate District. 

"In his tenure as chair of the Cayuga County Democratic Committee, Ian Phillips was instrumental in changing the balance of power in the county," Mannion said. "He was a transformational leader and will continue to be as a member of our community. He recruited qualified candidates and used his expertise to advance their campaigns and important issues. Personally, without him, I am not a state senator and would not be able to proudly represent the people of Cayuga County that we both care so deeply about." 

Phillips, who works as a regional political organizer for New York State United Teachers, will continue to serve on the Auburn Enlarged City School District Board of Election. He was reelected to the school board in May. 

Politics reporter Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.


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Online producer and politics reporter

I have been The Citizen's online producer and politics reporter since December 2009. I'm the author of the Eye on NY blog and write the weekly Eye on NY column that appears every Sunday in the print edition of The Citizen and online at

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