Change Makers: State Senator Webb breaks racial, gender barriers in public service

Published: Mar. 21, 2023 at 11:11 AM EDT|Updated: Mar. 21, 2023 at 3:24 PM EDT
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BINGHAMTON (WBNG) -- State Senator Lea Webb (D, 52) is no stranger to the Binghamton area. She has grown up in the city and served as a Binghamton City Councilmember before being elected into the New York State Senate.

“I was born and raised here in Binghamton on the southside,” said State Senator Webb. “If you’re talking about changing, whether it’s your own community or the state or the country, you also have to start where you live. I’ve lived here my whole life.”

Webb said her experience as a council member has helped her as a lawmaker, now in Albany. But, as she moved through local to state government, Webb has broken barriers twice: She became the first person of color to serve on the city council and became the first POC woman to represent the 52nd Senatorial District.

“No one, I think, sets out to be the first,” said Webb. “I’m definitely a person that that was not my plan, but I most certainly do not plan to be the last.”

“In breaking through some of those glass ceilings that most certainly, especially in historically marginalized communities aren’t just simply glass ceilings they are brick ceilings, is that it’s important to recognize not only how far we’ve come but the significant amount of work we need to do to ensure that we have diverse and inclusive representation across every institution in our society.”

However, Webb said she wasn’t always into politics. She said before becoming into public service, she wanted to be a pediatric surgeon. Though changed her mind to become a public servant when she was still young.

“Passion for public service started really young,” said Webb. “I remember my mom showed me this picture, I was probably like two maybe three years old, and I have a shirt that said kids are people too. So from that early age, this desire to advocate for others was I guess born so to speak due in large part to my parents. Both of my parents were very involved in the community.”

When it comes to future generations, Webb said she’s always thinking about how to create pathways for others.

“I’m always thinking about not just simply in the present, but for those that are coming after me,” said Webb “What are we doing and what can I do to really be in service?”

Webb currently chairs women’s issues in the senate, and she sits on seven committees. Webb and her freshman colleagues made history months ago when, during the swearing-in process, they were noted as the first all-women class of incoming senators for the Empire State.