Two years after successfully supporting Republican County Executive Rob Astorino, a self-styled fiscal watchdog group is now endorsing GOP candidates pledged to back his play in the Democratic-controlled county legislature.
With Mount Kisco’s Metro-North commuter rail station as a backdrop, New Yorkers for Growth endorsed Peter Michaelis and seven other GOP candidates at a Tuesday morning news conference. The group’s spokesman, former Larchmont mayor Liz Feld, described the challengers as eager to break the Democrats’ current veto-proof 12-5 hegemony.
“They’re tired of the partisan bickering at the county board level,” she said. The Republican candidates have pledged, Feld said, to support any tax-reform measure brought before them. The watchdog group, in statement, maintains that the majority last year blocked 247 of Astorino’s reform efforts.
Michaelis, a member of Bedford’s zoning board of appeals, is active in a number of town arenas. Running on both the Republican and Conservative lines, he’s challenging Democratic County Legislator Peter Harckham of Katonah, the county board’s majority leader, in District 2.
The district encompasses Bedford, Mount Kisco, Somers, North Salem, Lewisboro and Pound Ridge.
“I want to help make county government smaller and more responsive,” Michaelis said at Tuesday’s gathering of the candidates. Calling the nearby railroad station an appropriate venue, he asserted that the “current Board of Legislators is a train wreck in progress.”
The other GOP candidates sounded similar themes, portraying the current Democratic majority as free-spenders opposed to Astorino’s fiscal reforms.
The candidates included Michael Smith, R-C of Greenburgh, in District 3; Yorktown Councilman Terrence Murphy, R-C of Jefferson Valley, in District 4; Iris Pagan, R of White Plains, in District 5; Suzanna Keith, R-C of Rye, in District 7; and Susan Konig, R-C of Croton, in District 9.
Two other endorsed candidates, David Gelfarb, R-C of Rye Brook, in District 6 and Sheila Marcotte, R-C-I of Tuckahoe, in District 10, were not at the event.
“Each of these candidates represents tax relief, responsible fiscal policies, open government and job growth in Westchester County,” Feld said in the group’s prepared statement.