Congratulations to County Executive-elect George Latimer, County Legislator-elect Damon Maher, and all the other winners in yesterday’s election. It looks like a suburban sweep for the blue team, with all Democratic incumbents winning handily, and Democrats flipping at least three seats in the County Legislature, not to mention lots of municipal offices.
A great showing for progressive, inclusive government, a powerful and urgently-needed rebuke to President Trump, and a bright new day for Westchester County.
Big thanks to all who volunteered, contributed, and, most of all, voted.
Elections for various Westchester County offices are coming up on Tuesday, November 7th. Please vote!
In fact, put Election Day on your calendar right now and schedule a specific time to go to the polls. Literally make a plan to vote. And be sure your family and friends have plans, too.
Am I am being a little pushy? Maybe. But with good reason. Turnout in County elections is typically much, much lower than in races for President or Governor. It’s just a fact that many otherwise engaged and civic-minded people don’t really know what the County government does and/or don’t really care . . . and that’s a big mistake.
This is Important
This election is vitally important on at least two levels.
First, the County’s wide-ranging responsibilities affect hundreds of thousands of lives on a daily basis. Public health, mass transit, social services, child care, water quality, infrastructure, property tax rates, economic development . . . all of these things are either directly managed or significantly impacted by County decision-making. The County may seem like an invisible layer of government, lacking the immediacy of City Hall or the national news value of the White House and Congress, but the County’s priorities and competence really matter to all of us in Westchester.
Second, our choices on Tuesday will have national implications. Keep in mind that Westchester contains nearly a million people, bigger than several states, making the race for County Executive one of the most closely-watched in the country. If you share my concerns (and “concerns” is a mild word) about the actions and goals of the Trump Administration, then be certain to elect County officials who will affirm progressive values and stand against the worst abuses coming out of Washington. Tuesday offers the first real opportunity since Trump’s election to make a strong statement about our nation’s purpose and direction. Let’s not miss it.
With that backdrop, here are my recommendations for the races within New Rochelle:
George Latimer for County Executive
George Latimer is deeply experienced, knowledgeable, hard-working, eloquent, and motivated entirely by a passionate commitment to the common good. You would not know any of that from the relentlessly negative tone of the incumbent’s campaign, which (with a million dollars in support from an alt-right billionaire) has focused robotically on George’s household finances and personal life. It’s been a gutter campaign — an ugly brew of fact, innuendo, and exaggeration, little or none of it relevant to the County’s needs. All I can say is that my positive assessment of George is based on knowing him for about 25 years, and that, furthermore, my positive feelings are widely-shared among those who have worked with George and seen him in action. Don’t let gutter politics hijack the election. Focus on what matters most to our future, and please elect George. To learn more about George and his priorities, visit his website.
Tim Idoni for County Clerk
I’ll be brief in praising my friend Tim, only because he needs no introduction to New Rochelle, where he served as mayor for fourteen years and was instrumental in reviving our downtown (among many other accomplishments.) Tim has been a true innovator as County Clerk, leading the State in electronic record-keeping, communications, customer service, and efficient operations. He has fully earned a landslide reelection. Here’s Tim’s website.
Damon Maher for County Legislator
Damon is the challenger in County Legislative District 10. (Most of the North End and Center City neighborhoods of New Rochelle, plus Eastchester and Tuckahoe.) Currently a member of the New Rochelle Library Board of Trustees, Damon is one of the most principled, decent guys I have ever known and has been a source of invaluable support to many good candidates over the years, unselfishly ceding the limelight to others, while often working harder than anyone to promote just, fair, and progressive governance. He has rung about 8,000 doorbells in this campaign, which has to be some sort of local record — a statistic I mention only to illustrate his work ethic and commitment. Learn more about Damon here.
Catherine Parker for County Legislator
Incumbent Catherine Parker represents only a small piece of New Rochelle (basically Bayberry, Larchmont Woods, and City Park – with the bulk of her district in Larchmont, Mamaroneck, and Rye), but we are very lucky to have her. Catherine has been a strong and effective champion for environmental protection, fiscal responsibility, and honest government, not to mention a great advocate for New Rochelle’s needs. Whatever the outcome of the County Executive race, we need to keep Catherine Parker working for us. Here’s Catherine’s website with more.
There are other contests for judicial offices and three state-wide propositions, yet more reason to get out and vote. So whether you agree with my recommendations or not, make your voice heard on Tuesday! Thanks for reading.
I probably disagree with Senator Jeff Flake on about 90% of the public policy questions facing our country, but his remarkable speech this afternoon speaks powerfully to values that exist outside and above our normal political debates.
The two paragraphs below stood out most for me, but the speech is worth watching or reading in full.
“When a leader correctly identifies real hurt and insecurity in our country and instead of addressing it goes looking for somebody to blame, there is perhaps nothing more devastating to a pluralistic society. Leadership knows that most often a good place to start in assigning blame is to first look somewhat closer to home. Leadership knows where the buck stops. Humility helps. Character counts. Leadership does not knowingly encourage or feed ugly and debased appetites in us.”
“We were not made great as a country by indulging or even exalting our worst impulses, turning against ourselves, glorying in the things which divide us, and calling fake things true and true things fake. And we did not become the beacon of freedom in the darkest corners of the world by flouting our institutions and failing to understand just how hard-won and vulnerable they are.”
It is dispiriting, but not surprising, that in her daily press briefing, Sarah Huckabee Sanders called Flake’s speech “petty.” Hard to imagine a more dramatic example of projection.
Please join me on October 21st, when I will be proud to headline a fundraiser here in New Rochelle for George Latimer’s campaign for Westchester County Executive. You can get all the details in this invitation and RSVP at this link. You can also RSVP by emailing Hailee Greene at email@example.com or calling 845-659-6343.
Even if you can’t attend, please consider making a contribution to George’s campaign.
George is an exceptional candidate — deeply experienced, knowledgeable, hard-working, honest, eloquent, and motivated entirely by a passionate commitment to the common good. Indeed, George has every advantage in this race . . . except one: money. He is being vastly outspent and urgently needs financial resources to communicate his message to the nearly one million residents of Westchester.
Having been in George’s position four years ago, I have strong feelings about this campaign and am painfully aware of the impact County leadership has on tens of thousands of lives. It is vitally important for Westchester to have a new competent Executive with a progressive, long-term vision.
To learn more about George, please visit his website.
If you’ve been on the sidelines until now, this is a perfect opportunity to get involved and make a difference. Please join me on October 21st and contribute as generously as you can to the future of our region.
Dahlia Lithwick and Rebecca Traister are among the best known and most highly-regarded commentators on political and Constitutional issues in the country, so it’s a real privilege to welcome them to New Rochelle on September 28th for “cocktails and conversation” at Alvin & Friends.
This event is sponsored by and supports the New Rochelle Public Library Foundation.
Please click here to learn more and reserve your ticket.
Catie and I will be there, and hope to see you.