Guyanese born longtime County Legislator Leslyn McBean Clairborne declared her intentions to run for re-election by way of an open letter to the City of Ithaca and the media. A member of the county legislature more than 16 years, she represents a large portion of the City of Ithaca on the Legislature and serves as the Executive Director of the Greater Ithaca Activities Center.
Clairborne was asked about herself and she proudly stated that she is originally from Guyana in South America … I came to the United States in 1989 to visit my mother who had already immigrated here. She was here for about five years. My mom was my best friend and she left, she left just before I graduated from high school to come to a U.S., as a matter of fact she was on her way to Canada for better opportunity, my mom is a nurse…She was a physician’s assistant and I came to visit her with a permanent visa. I was teaching, I’m a teacher by profession.
However, when asked how and why she decided to become a legislator she stated, Well I came from a socialist, communist country. I knew nothing about Democrats or Republicans or what any of that the stuff was about, or Green, or any of it. There was a friend of mine who held the legislature seat that I eventually got into…I was working at the community dispute resolution center … I’m sitting in my office listening to the radio, like I always did, and on the radio it said that Susan Davis has had to resign her legislature seat because she moved to Syracuse… I was on her vacancy committee.
Although Guyana is far from a communist country, it is possible that Clairborne is referencing the one socialist paragraph in the Guyanese constitution which states, “Convinced that the organisation of the State and society on socialist principles is the only means of ensuring social and economic justice for all of the people of Guyana; and, therefore, being motivated and guided by the principles of socialism”.