Biography

Barbara Lifton
Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton represents the 125th Assembly District, which includes all of Tompkins County, the City of Cortland and the towns of Cortlandville and Virgil in Cortland County. Ms. Lifton was first elected in 2002 and is now starting her fifth term.

Ms. Lifton is the daughter of Margaret Smith and the late Gerald Smith of Geneseo, and attended public school there with her six siblings. She received a B.A. in English, with certification to teach Secondary English, in 1973 and a M.A. in English in 1985, both from SUNY Geneseo. She taught high school English at Geneseo Central School from 1976 until 1982 and in Ithaca schools from 1985 until 1988. Ms. Lifton was also a member of the New York State United Teachers, the Ithaca Teachers Association, the PTA and the Ithaca Hockey Boosters.

Ms. Lifton served as Chief of Staff to Assemblyman Marty Luster for fourteen years. She was a long-time member of the steering committee of the Tompkins County Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign. Lifton co-founded the Coalition for Community Unity in 1998 to combat hate groups. She served for two years on the Cornell/Community Waste Management Committee and was a member of the Ithaca Area Health Care Network.

Assemblywoman Lifton was a leader in the effort to make sure New York had the best, most secure, accurate and reliable voting machines possible after the federal government passed the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). After the state passed its law in 2005, the Speaker appointed Assemblywoman Lifton to be his representative to the Citizens’ Election Modernization Advisory Committee, a bipartisan committee to make recommendations to the State Board of Elections as New York worked to implement the new law.

As a former teacher, Lifton makes education a priority, both PreK-12, as well as higher education. Lifton continues to push for implementation of the CFE decision to get new funding and reform to our PreK-12 schools, and fights for state support for all college students, and especially for SUNY campuses. She has also devoted significant time to legislation and advocacy dealing with the issue of gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale. She has worked on other issues of importance to women and families, including daycare, healthcare, and, notably, in the 2010 session, the licensing of midwives.

Assemblywoman Lifton serves on five standing committees in the Assembly – Agriculture, Election Law, Environmental Conservation, Higher Education and Mental Health. She served in 2009 as Chair of the Assembly Committee on Libraries and Education Technology, in 2010 as Vice-Chair of the Assembly Majority Steering Committee, and was designated as Chair of the Assembly Majority Steering Committee in 2011.

Assemblywoman Lifton resides in Ithaca. She is the mother of two and grandmother of three.