At coffees and cocktail parties held all across town in recent weeks the candidates for City Council and Westchester County Legislator have had the opportunity to make their pitch and ask for your vote on November 7.
In the District 7 race, there are noted differences in the views of veteran legislator Catherine Parker, who is running on the Democratic line for her sixth and final (because of term limits) two-year term, and her challenger, Katie Manger, who is running on the Republican ticket. Manger, a former attorney, does pro bono legal advocacy in the County.
Parker has emphasized her environmental advocacy and measures to combat climate change. Earlier this week, she said, she and her colleagues on the Board of Legislators helped pass $6 million in flood mitigation projects and studies in one day. Parker points proudly to the fact that while she’s been in office, the County has far exceeded the affordable housing unit goals.
Manger has expressed strong opposition to Democratic initiatives to override local planning authorities. Gov. Kathy Hochul has proposed that multi-family housing be built around transportation hubs, such as train stations. Manger says, “The how and where of development should <not> be controlled by politicians outside our communities.”
Regarding climate change initiatives at the County level, Manger believes that with “household budgets stretched, we should be cautious about increasing energy costs. Affordability must be part of the solution.”
The fact is that Westchester County’s residential electric bills are 60 percent higher than the national average and 40 percent higher than the New York State average.
Parker has a track record of getting things done. “When a community comes to me, they know I will roll up my sleeves,” she said.
The Council race is complex. The ballot includes the names of four candidates running for three open seats, but there are only three candidates. Incumbent Lori Fontanes is bowing out of the race because she is moving to Paris next year. However, because of New York’s arcane election laws, her name must remain on the ballot. Those who are also planning to run for office may consider distributing flyers and political campaign doorhangers.
Incumbent Councilman Josh Nathan, an attorney who served as president of the Rye City School District Board of Education for three terms, is running on the Democrat ticket with Jamie Jensen, a dedicated community leader, advocate for Rye Town Park, and a writing and reading tutor.
Keith Cunningham, former partner and managing director of GMP Securities, is running on the Republican line. He noted he has been around healthy debate and politics his entire life. Cunningham grew up in Manchester, N.H., where his father was president of the Jaycees, the leadership training service organization. “New Hampshire is the state where the first of the presidential primaries is held, and every presidential candidate came to our house, our high school.”
Jensen and Nathan said they look forward to serving with Cunningham on the Council. They share a common goal: Allowing the opinions of all residents to be heard and respected at public meetings.
The League of Women Voters of Rye, Rye Brook, Port Chester is holding a Candidates’ Forum on Monday, October 16 from 7 to 9 p.m. at The Osborn. The Q&A with the City Council candidates will be posted on the League’s website and Facebook page.
Interviews with the candidates for County Legislator and City Council will be published in the paper’s next issue, October 27.