The Waiting Game on Assembly, State Senate Races

If Assemblyman George Latimer decides to run for the State Senate seat of fellow Democrat Suzi Oppenheimer, who this month announced she would not be running for a 15th term this fall, former Rye Mayor Steve Otis says “it’s no secret” he’ll run for the Assembly seat. Assemblyman Latimer told the paper he’s doing the…

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Published January 26, 2012 7:21 AM
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st-oppthumbIf Assemblyman George Latimer decides to run for the State Senate seat of fellow Democrat Suzi Oppenheimer, who this month announced she would not be running for a 15th term this fall, former Rye Mayor Steve Otis says “it’s no secret” he’ll run for the Assembly seat. Assemblyman Latimer told the paper he’s doing the “due diligence” and will make his decision before the February school break.

By Robin Jovanovich

 

st-latimerIf Assemblyman George Latimer decides to run for the State Senate seat of fellow Democrat Suzi Oppenheimer, who this month announced she would not be running for a 15th term this fall, former Rye Mayor Steve Otis says “it’s no secret” he’ll run for the Assembly seat. Assemblyman Latimer told the paper he’s doing the “due diligence” and will make his decision before the February school break.

 

“It is the next logical step for me,” Mr. Latimer continued, while acknowledging that he still has a lot of deliberating to do. “I’m not personally wealthy and I have to have a better sense of how much money I can raise and what the State Senate District will be after the redistricting that’s coming.” He added, “Unlike many in politics, I’m not a lawyer who can go back and work at a firm if I’m not elected. I’d have to go out and look for another job, which is a risky business in this economy.”

 

st-otisWhile Assemblyman Latimer is out “testing the market” at coffees and meetings throughout the 37th Senate District, which currently extends from New Rochelle to Mt. Kisco, Mr. Otis is patiently waiting before making any announcement. He’s been in the news quite a lot lately, having been Senator Oppenheimer’s counsel for 26 of the 28 years she’s served. At one point, many thought he was the heir apparent for the State Senate office when she retired.

 

Mr. Otis allowed that “the experience I’ve gained from working closely with Suzi, as well as my 12 years as Mayor of Rye, have provided me with a deep knowledge of the issues important to Westchester residents. I’ve worked with every community on the Sound Shore and feel I can offer a lot to each.”

 

He had high praise for the “very active representative Suzi has been for Rye — from helping get funding for traffic safety improvements at Rye Town Park and Playland Parkway to the expansion of the Duck Pond.”

 

Ms. Oppenheimer, 77, announced January 12 that she would not be running for another term because she is having major shoulder replacement surgery, which requires six to eight months of physical therapy and rehabilitation. Republican Bob Cohen, who ran against Ms. Oppenheimer in 2010 and lost by only 700 votes in that election, wasted no time in announcing he’s running for the 37th District seat this fall.

 

st-cohen“Of course, the first issue is taxes,” said Mr. Cohen. “But, beneath the tax issue is the cost of mandates from Albany which add more and more burdens on municipalities, school districts, and the County.”

 

He believes passing the tax cap was easy, but reducing mandates that affect pensions, health care, and so on is the really hard part.
 
“Career politicians, who move from elected position to elected position, will not fight the special interests in order make the hard decisions,” said Mr. Cohen. “Rather, they just push things off – like pension reform – from one year to the next. We’re backing ourselves into a major crisis across the state.”

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