will choose between Westchester County Legislator District 7 candidates Catherine
Parker and Tom Murphy in the primary elections on Tuesday, Sept. 10.
The two candidates are vying for the seat that will be vacated by Democratic legislator Judy Myers, who is not seeking re-election. District 7 covers the city of Rye, Mamaroneck, Larchmont, portions of Harrison and New Rochelle.
Murphy is a former Mamaroneck Trustee and Parker is currently a Rye city council member. The winner will appear on the Democratic line on the
ballots for the general election in November. The Republican Candidate is John
Verni, of New Rochelle.
As a fourth generation Westchester County resident, I have Westchester in my blood. It is how I define myself. I am passionate about this county, and my desire to see Westchester continue to be the best place to live, whether you are a child, working and raising a family, or retired.
What in your experience and background prepares you for this job?
There is nothing in my experience and background that hasn't prepared me for this job! I have been a legislator at a time when the economy had tanked, yet I have been able to work with my colleagues from both parties, to progress infrastructure needs, while keeping taxes below the 2% tax cap. As a small business owner, and "owner" of a middle-class family I'm sensitive to the cost associated with being in a place with the best schools, best beaches and parks, and lovely villages and towns. I have been studying climate change, and was recently selected to be a leader for the Climate Reality Project, chaired by former Vice-President Al Gore.
What differentiates you from Thomas Murphy?
Besides all of the above, and all that is below..he's taller.
What are the top three issues facing District 7 right now?
The number one issue is the tax burden which has many residents struggling to understand how they can afford to stay in Westchester. I've knocked on more doors than I can count where the homeowner who no longer had children in the school system, said their short term plan was to put the house on the market and move where the taxes were "reasonable". Number two is flooding. We have all chosen to live in a sound shore community, and as such we have many rivers and brooks making their way through to Long Island Sound. Storms are coming more frequently and more severely due to climate change, and the damage to our communities caused by flooding is enormous, both in cost and emotional stress. I know this firsthand. I have said before, if you question why we need county government, look no further than flood mitigation as your answer. Lastly, we need to focus on our environment. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions to eventually undue the damage caused by climate change cannot be delayed any longer. The good news is alternative energy will surely provide a way to reduce our governmental costs longterm. Cleaner water and air for future generations of Westchester County residents must be addressed today.
What is your position on the Sustainable Playland deal? Do you want SPI to take over management of Playland? If so, why? If not, then what should be the future for Playland?
The management agreement with Sustainable Playland and their partnership with Central Amusements should provide for a better Playland for Westchester County residents and visitors alike. Central Amusements has the expertise to run Playland well, and will invest the necessary dollars to improve the rides and experience . Just look what they did with Luna Park at Coney Island. What SPI brings is the expertise (Dan Biederman - revitalization of Bryant Park, NYC) to bring successful events and other partners to make Playland a destination 365 days a year. Better restaurants and food concessions, better picnic area, kayak launch, ballfields and fieldhouse, sound good to many people in our area. Yes, the devil is in the details, and I look forward to seeing the Playland Improvement Plan that SPI must provide the Board of Legislators, but to knock it conceptually is short-sighted.
If elected, how do you feel you will represent the concerns of residents from outside of Rye and balance the concerns of all your constituents?
I don't ever remember wondering if Judy Myers played favorites with the Town of Mamaroneck. Honestly, elected officials look to the needs of the district, and do their best to meet those needs. As a Rye City Councilwoman, I haven't played favorites with Milton Point in Rye, because that's where I live. Can you imagine questioning Sen. Chuck Schumer when he was first running whether or not he would be able to balance the needs of all his constituents over those in Brooklyn?
What are some of the accomplishments made while on Rye City Council of which you are most proud?
We have a nicer downtown then when I started on the Council, thanks to the efforts of many people - citizens, staff and fellow elected officials, to see through the start of a streetscape improvement plan. I also think getting the sluice gate for the Bowman Ave dam is an important step for flood mitigation. This year, I felt particularly gratified by the sale of 1037 Boston Post Rd - because of my relentless refusal to take what my colleagues perceived as a "good offer" from our tenant, we garnered an additional $2.2 million dollars, and the taxpayer recouped their original investment - and made money!
There is often disagreement between Democrats and Republican legislators at the county level – how do you feel you could improve or handle partisan relations if elected?
I've said this many times - good ideas can come from both sides of the aisle. We are all tired of the partisan bickering, and name calling. Frankly, my opponent questioning whether I am Democrat enough, is akin to some of the County's Republicans pressuring their legislators to go along or risk being called RINO - Republican in Name Only. This kind of divisiveness is self-serving. I have succeeded being re-elected as a councilwoman because I am fair, and have treated issues in a non-partisan way. I will bring that pragmatic, not ideological approach to county government.