William Villanova (R, C, IN), and Steve Otis (D, WF, IN) are seeking election in the New York State Assembly District 91 on Tuesday, Nov. 6. Both candidates have been involved with local government: Otis served as mayor of Rye City from 1998 to 2009 and Villanova was elected to Rye Town council in 2005 and serves as the deputy supervisor. District 91 is often referred to as the sound shore district and covers Rye Town, Rye City, Port Chester, a portion of New Rochelle, Larchmont and Mamaroneck.
In addition to serving as mayor, Otis spent 27 years as chief of staff to State Senator Suzi Oppenheimer, who is not running this year. George Latimer (D), the current 91st District Assemblyman is running against Bob Cohen (R) for Oppenheimer’s seat.
Villanova works as a funeral manager and volunteers as a Port Chester firefighter. On Monday, his campaign manager reported that VIllanova is feeling good about his chances in the election.
“He believes he is going to win - his message of change and lower taxes and community restoration will prevail. He fully expects to be the next representative of the sound shore community,” said Russo. Russo added that Villanova's priority now is making sure people of the sound shore have power back and have access to gas and electricity.
Otis would not comment on how he felt about his chances going into the election, but also emphasized how important it is for the community to have power restored.
“My focus for the last week has been on response to the hurricane and my focus the last few days has been working with municipal officials and state officials on issues relating to getting electrical service,” Otis said. “The focus the last week has not been the campaign and we’ve suspended campaign activities since the hurricane began.”
Read more on each candidate below.
In addition to serving as Rye City mayor for 12 years, Otis has served on various local committees over the last 15 years. He holds a Bachelors degree from Hobart College, a Masters in Public Administration from NYU and a J.D. from Hofstra University School of Law.
According to his profile in the League of Women Voters Election Guide, Otis’ top priorities are:
- Reducing the cost of government at all levels. He mentions relieving municipalities of state mandate costs and providing property tax relief.
- Advocating for more state aid to local school districts to improve education and lower property tax burden and supporting college financial aid programs
- Supporting the Governor’s efforts to encourage small business and private sector job creation.
Otis also told LWV he would oppose hydraulic fracturing until technology and regulations are in place to make sure it is done safely. He is in favor of the Governor’s Regional Economic Council. He also views flood and road mitigation as a top priority, and he supports the Governor’s plan to renovate the Tappan Zee Bridge.
Read Otis’ full responses to LWV questions here.
Villanova, a Port Chester resident, has served as the Rye deputy supervisor and councilman for seven years and has also served on several other boards, and military groups.
Villanova’s campaign has focused on his priorities of government transparency, reducing taxes and reducing spending and best in class government.
Villanova’s campaign site focuses on his plan of government reform, to address term limits and eliminate salary and benefits for legislators found guilty of a crime while in office. He wants to reduce legislative staff and related costs and eliminate legislative daily stipends. Villanova says his plan can save the state $5 million that could be reappropriated to the 91st “sound shore” district for things like flood mitigating, local schools and mandate relief.
Villanova did not have a full profile included in the LWV guide, which indicates the candidate did not respond.
Follow the election all day Tuesday on Rye Patch.