Everything You Need to Know About Josh Brokaw’s Campaign for Tompkins County Sheriff (So Far)

Categories Ithaca, Politics

Josh Brokaw, the founder/editor/reporter/unpaid intern for this local, independent, grassroots media organization we call TruthSayers, is running for Tompkins County Sheriff as an independent.

After collecting over 1,400 signatures to gain ballot access an an independent candidate, unaffiliated with any party, Brokaw will be on the ballot this November 6, 2018, along with current sheriff Ken Lansing and former undersheriff Derek Osborne.

Brokaw is the only candidate in the race who is an unqualified “yes” on support for recreational marijuana in New York State, and who wants to do everything we can to stop the War on Drugs in Tompkins County.

See the November 1 debate between all three sheriff candidates at the Enfield Valley Grange for that discussion, around 31 minutes into the video:

Here are all the ways you can get involved in the campaign and follow along for updates, along with information, articles, and other bits and pieces of media coverage that might interest you, as a citizen in our democracy.

If you use Facebook and want campaign updates, join the “Josh Brokaw for Tompkins County Sheriff” group.

If you’re on Instagram, the @truthviewers account is very election-heavy in its content right now. Find @truthviewers here.

Brokaw’s Twitter account is @jdbrokaw – follow him by clicking here.

If you’d like to help with the campaign in any way, email Brokaw at josh.brokaw@truthsayers.org or call/text him at 607-339-6788. Facebook messenger works pretty well, too. Twitter or Instagram messages he doesn’t check so often.

Are you free Tuesday, November 6? Even for an hour or two? The Brokaw campaign could use you to tell people about the campaign at your local polling place. Talk to people, or don’t – use another talent. Juggle, or play music, dance, bring your dog and offer kisses for votes. Whatever makes you happy that makes other people happy too!

Click here for Brokaw’s campaign platform. Let him know what you think about it. 

Here’s some short videos of Brokaw explaining parts of his platform:

On ending the war on drugs in Tompkins County:

Talking about making it easier for inmates to get reading material in the county jail:

Talking about how the sheriff’s office should use the media, better than it does now:


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How should the sheriff’s office use media? My thoughts on how Tompkins County can do better than we are now. #politics

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Josh Brokaw for Tompkins County Sheriff: Media Appearances, Stories, and TruthSayers Reporting on Relevant Topics

October 31: Feature in Ithaca Times.

October 31: Endorsement letter from Jerry Dennis, of Groton, at ithaca.com

October 31: Endorsement letter from Alessandro Powell, of Ithaca, ithaca.com.

October 31: Local Election Guide, Ithaca Times

October 29: All three candidates on how to respond to the Tompkins County Jail’s problems.

October 26: Interview with Dan Veaner of the Lansing Star

October 22: Read all three candidates’ columns on the opioid epidemic in Tompkins Weekly.

October 15: Read all three candidates’ columns on what they would do with the sheriff’s office budget, in Tompkins Weekly.

October 7: Listen to Brokaw’s hour-long appearance on the Made of Clay Report, an interview show on WRFI Community Radio.

September 17: Ithaca Journal: Three Remain in Sheriff’s Race After Primary

“Brokaw has cast himself as a disruption candidate, someone who can facilitate the difficult conversations he says need to be had about modernizing policing.

“We always need to be questioning our presumptions and listening to the people with true compassion and understanding. As a journalist, those are traits I can bring to the sheriff’s office,” Brokaw said in a campaign announcement last month.”

September 12: Radio Debate with Brokaw, Lansing, and Osborne sponsored by WRFI Community  Radio and the Ithaca Voice. Includes audio and transcript of debate.
September 7: Brokaw’s TruthSayers Reporting: Jail is in Bad Shape, How Do We House Transgender Inmates?
September 7: Ithaca Voice: Why TruthSayers Journalist Josh Brokaw is Running for Sheriff

“Brokaw said from his professional and personal seat as a journalist, transparency is important to him. Brokaw said reporters receive a lot of news releases from police agencies, from shoplifting incidents at Target and other arrests, which often turn right into news stories. He said these agencies drive what people are seeing for public safety news.

“But when you get a press release about the SWAT team going out at four in the morning for a no knock warrant and then they get eight grams of coke and sometimes a handgun and sometimes not. And you know, they always say, ‘Heroin package for sale,’ but that could mean a couple hundred dollars worth. Which, if you know anyone who’s unfortunate enough to be addicted to heroin that’s like a day supply. So you get these releases and then when you ask, ‘Well why’d you feel the need to send out the SWAT team? Why are you sending up the heavy artillery?’ Basically they say, ‘You have to trust us. You know we have our reasons.’ And that’s not good enough.”

September 3: Tompkins Weekly: He’s running. Ithaca area reporter wants to be your sheriff

“It also seemed like it was going to be an election about differences in how to administrate the office, how much overtime are we giving people, kind of a ‘Who’s the most responsible for doing what we are doing right now?’ And it didn’t seem like there was going to be fundamental questions posed about the status quo, fundamental questions posed about why we police, where we do, how we do things,” Brokaw said, explaining why this was the time to run for an elected office. “We have this opportunity to talk about this stuff publicly, we should be doing that every time.”

August 24: Lansing Star: Brokaw Joins Tompkins County Sheriff’s Race

“Brokaw is the founder and editor of independent news site TruthSayers.org and a former Ithaca Times reporter. Brokaw’s campaign collected the signatures along with help from several volunteers over a six-week period starting in mid-July. The campaign collected signatures from voters at the GrassRoots Festival of Music and Dance, at summer concerts in Newfield, Ellis Hollow, Dryden, and downtown Ithaca, and at farmers’ markets in Ithaca and Trumansburg, among other popular hangout spots.”

August 22: 14850.com: Independent Ithaca journalist tosses hat in ring for Sheriff’s race

“There are also lots of people who seem excited by the idea of someone who doesn’t owe their identity and thinking to law enforcement culture becoming Sheriff,” Brokaw tells us. “Many people are afraid of the police these days, as a whole. I had a 60-something white man telling me on the Cornell Arts Quad he drives slower these days because he doesn’t want to be shot at a traffic stop.”

July 17: TruthSayers: An open letter to hell-raisers and TruthSayers, from Brokaw

“For though there are many signatures to gather and many people who will say “no thanks,” wacky things are happening across this nation these days. People are bored with the same-old.

So do like I did on Tuesday, July 10, the first day for gathering independent signatures, and put on your bathing suit and your finest borrowed T-shirt and go see an election commissioner about getting yourself on the ballot.

I am a local reporter who would like straighter answers from local law enforcement when I ask them why they do what they do. The way to the straightest answer seems to be by becoming law enforcement. So I’m running for sheriff of Tompkins County …”






Have you been in the Tompkins County Jail? Do you have ideas about how we could make a better facility for everyone? Contact Josh Brokaw, TruthSayers editor and 2018 candidate for Tompkins County Sheriff at josh.brokaw@truthsayers.org. The more people who have their ideas in the conversation, the better a job we’ll do.

Featured photo of Josh Brokaw at Trumansburg Farmers Market on Aug. 1, 2018, provided by David M. O’Neill.


Josh Brokaw is an independent reporter based in Ithaca, N.Y.
Email josh.brokaw@truthsayers.org with tips, story suggestions, and gentle criticism.
Twitter: @jdbrokaw