On a Sunday afternoon late last month, State Senator George Latimer (D) 37th District, hosted a luncheon at Rye Recreation Park to announce that he was running for a second term.
By Melanie Cane and Robin Jovanovich
On a Sunday afternoon late last month, State Senator George Latimer (D) 37th District, hosted a luncheon at Rye Recreation Park to announce that he was running for a second term. When he was planning the casual get-together, he was running unopposed, but that Friday, Joseph Dillon (R), who has a public relations and political consulting firm in Bronxville, threw his hat in the ring.
After winning one of the most expensive races in the state two years ago, Latimer, told listeners that he was hoping to focus on important issues, such as “education for our children” and “healthcare for the elderly,” in his campaign, not fundraising.
Latimer discussed his reasons for seeking re-election, his bipartisan/non-partisan beliefs, as well as the reality of having to raise money. He spent most of the three hours while people were sitting and standing around picnic tables, listening to his constituents.
Interspersed with his informal talk about his passion for politics, Latimer introduced members of his team and long-term supporters. He has been active in politics for 27 years, holding four different offices. His political career began as a member of the Rye City Council, at the time “a Democrat in a Republican town in a position without salary or glory.” He ran then, for the same reasons he’s running now. “You think you can make a positive difference by making yourself available to listen to the people. You put yourself out there and people tell you stuff. You absorb what different people say and reflect on their concerns and try to make their lives better by working hard.”
Joe Dillon, 47, a nationally recognized public policy and corporate strategy expert with experience in both the public and private sector, is running with a simple pledge: “If it doesn’t help create a job, if it doesn’t make life more affordable for Westchester families, or if it doesn’t improve the quality of education for our students, I won’t vote for it….”
Dillon built a successful consulting business after losing his job during the start of the Great Recession in 2008. Previously, he was Senior Vice President of Global Policy for Visa, Director of Corporate & International Affairs at AIG, and Senior Advisor and Chief of Staff to the Under-Secretary for Domestic Finance in the U.S. Treasury Department. He returned to AIG in 2007, where he said he’d planned to spend the rest of his career.
At age 60, Latimer says his energy for seeking a second term does not come from living a healthy lifestyle, but rather from the depth of his belief in what government should be. “Ideally, government is a partner with businesses, neighborhoods, and individuals in creating solutions to their problems.” He thinks there is wisdom in both parties, but the parties need to collaborate to create solutions, not try to best one another based on political ideology.
In his first term, Latimer said he is proud to have helped secure enough revenue for the Village of Rye Brook to maintain no tax increase for the foreseeable future, obtain a record amount of money for the Port Chester school system, and get flood funding for Rye.
Dillon, a Yonkers resident and father of three, says, if elected, what he hopes to accomplish in in his first term is to take New York’s hostile anti-business and hyper-tax climate from worst to first. “If New York stays on this trajectory, the next generation has no shot of making it here. That’s why I’m running.”