Officially, Bob Cohen Announces Bid To Succeed Oppenheimer (UPDATED w/ video)

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And now, it’s official.

Never mind the fact that his campaign website has been up and running for some time, he’s already launched a radio ad, and that he himself has previously said he would be running: Bob Cohen is officially running for state Senate.

Cohen, a Republican businessman who recently moved from Scarsdale to New Rochelle, today formally announced his bid to succeed Sen. Suzi Oppenheimer, D-Mamaroneck, who will retire at the end of the year. Cohen lost in his bid to oust Oppenheimer in the 2010 elections by about 600 votes.

“I am not a politician. I am your neighbor — I am the guy who lives across the street,” Cohen said in Yonkers this morning, according to his prepared remarks. “The time has come for regular citizens to intervene in the affairs of our state. The career politicians continue to fail us.”

Cohen is the first person to announce a bid to replace Oppenheimer, though the district’s boundaries haven’t yet been finalized. The state’s redistricting process is still in flux, though Senate Republicans said a vote on new Senate districts could come as soon as this week.

On the Democratic side, no one has officially announced a campaign, though Assemblyman George Latimer, D-Rye, has acknowledged interest in a potential run.

UPDATED: You can read Cohen’s prepared remarks from this morning after the jump, as well as a video of Cohen courtesy of The Journal News’ Gerald McKinstry.

What’s that expression?

It’s déjà vu all over again?

I feel like we just left off from 2010.

Same podium.

Same issues.

The signs even look familiar.

So do all your shiny, beautiful faces.

——-

We came within a hare’s breath of winning this race in 2010

We talked about the issues openly and honestly.

We leveled with the voters of Westchester and surprised a lot of people.

They gave us 49.5% of the vote against a long-term incumbent senator.

So I’m here today to talk to those couple hundred voters who might be willing to reconsider their last vote.

That’s called a target audience.

—–

In all seriousness, though, the 2012 race will be a very different one – for an obvious reason.

And it would be wrong not to acknowledge that from the start.

State Senator Suzi Oppenheimer will not be pursuing re-election this year.

She will be retiring.

Senator Oppenheimer and I didn’t always see eye-to-eye on things – like on property tax reform.

But she served her neighbors for more than 35 years, and I think we need to give Suzi a sincere thanks for the years of service she gave this district.

How about a round of applause for Suzi Oppenheimer before we begin.

Here’s what will be the same in 2012:

My message.

I ran for state senate in 2010 as a man on a mission.

That mission continues.

New York State government is failing us.

It spends too much … It taxes too much.

And it lacks transparency and accountability.

That’s not good enough for a state like New York, and we can do better.

The fault lies in Albany, with the career politicians of both parties, Republican and Democrat alike.

It lies with the type of leader who is quick to take credit, but slow to take blame.

It lies with the type of leader who says one thing in-district, and another thing in Albany.

It lies with the type of leader who refuses to be held accountable for his results.

We may like some of them personally, but they have clearly failed us.

They need to be held accountable for the bad results they’ve delivered, just as you and I are held accountable in our everyday lives.

That’s how we get better government.

All the shortcuts they take…

All the side deals…

All the handouts traded for votes…

They’ve added up.

And guess what the sum is for the people of Westchester?

The highest property taxes in America.

We should feel lucky here, though.

In other parts of New York things are far worse.

Upstate and Western New York have lost 1.5 million residents in the past decade.

That’s the same as if every man, woman, and child in the City of Yonkers packed up and left every 15 months for the next ten years.

Much of that has to do with government mismanagement

The careless overspending..

The over-reaching regulations…

And the never-ending tax increases.

All those things have chased thousands of businesses from New York, and with them the jobs they provided.

Once those jobs leave, families go, too. We all know the story. Everyone here knows of a friend or family member who has moved to North Carolina, or Florida, or Texas in recent years.

Today we are standing in front of Artuso Bakery, a small business. Businesses like this are the lifeblood of our communities and should be given every opportunity to thrive. But instead, they are constantly under siege from taxes that are too high and regulations that are too burdensome. They are treated as sources of revenue for the state, instead of sources of jobs for the people.

That is not good enough for a state like New York, and we can do better.

I salute Governor Cuomo for taking steps in the right direction.

He gets it.

A state that chases away jobs and families is not long an Empire State. It is a shrinking state.

But the career politicians in Albany – the ones deeply indebted to special interests – still don’t seem to care.

When reforms are raised, they instinctively block them.

Take a look at the future of our public employee pension program.

Everyone knows the costs of our pension obligations are unsustainable.

This is math, not politics.

Unless we fundamentally change how benefits are given to future hires, we will be forced to gut our social safety net, reduce aid for education, and raise property taxes even further. That is totally unacceptable to me.

But ask your local legislator about specific reforms that would truly save the system, such as placing future employees in the sorts of 401K-style plans that most New Yorkers use today, and see what they say.

They squirm.

They hedge.

They dance.

And they run and hide behind the powerful special interests.

Ask, say, some local Assemblyman what he thinks about pension reform and the property tax cap and watch where he runs to.

The reason career politicians run is that they fear the special interests more than they fear the voters, but we can change that!

We can change that. It’s one of the reasons why in 2010 I got 49.5% of the vote. I talked about this stuff honestly, and proposed real solutions.

New York has some of the brightest citizens in America.

Westchester has the brightest of the brightest in New York.

It is an insult to our intelligence that the career politicians in Albany think they can keep getting away with this.

We are not dumb. We are not blind. We can do the math.

New York has among the highest taxes and worst business climates in America. We know that if we don’t fundamentally reform the way Albany does business, New York will keep losing families and jobs and our taxes will keep going up and up.

That’s not good enough for me, that’s not good enough for you, and that’s not good enough for a state like New York. We can do better!

We can do better.

I am not a politician.

I am a husband, a father, and a businessman.

I am your neighbor.

I am the guy who lives across the street.

I serve as a volunteer fire fighter. I coached my kids’ soccer, baseball, and softball teams. I volunteer locally and serve on the County Parks Board.

I believe in the concept of community and I try to give back where I can.

I couldn’t care less about the politics of the day.

What I care about are the concerns and well-being of my neighbors and my family.

And getting results.

————-

Like you, when I am older I want my children to be able to live nearby if they choose to.

I don’t want to buy airline tickets to Texas to see my grandchildren, and I don’t know how to use Skype.

We all know it’s getting tough to live in this county, and the core of the problem lies in Albany.

Until we fix what goes on there, we cannot stop the taxes that are strangling our economy and our household budgets.

—–

I am running for senate because our kids won’t be able to live in Westchester if the property taxes keep going up;

I am running for the senate because we need education reform that empowers teachers to teach, parents to parent, and that gives our children the opportunity for a world-class education;

I am running for the senate because Albany needs citizen legislators again.

Citizen legislators. Who know how to balance a checkbook and have the guts to say ‘no’ to the special interests.

I don’t want to go to Albany to build a political career.

In fact, I want term limits for our state politicians.

I want to do the job that’s needed,

And then I want to come home to my family.

Period.

——–

And so, with thanks to all of those who have supported me these last two years and those whose support I will seek in the months to come…

And with all the humility and sincerity in my heart…

I announce my candidacy today for the office of the New York State Senate! Our government today is not good enough for a state like New York. We can do better And together, we will do better!

For the next eight months I will work day and night in every corner of this district to deliver my message of tax relief, transparent government, and citizen intervention in Albany.

Thank you for being here.

Thank you for listening to me.

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23 Comments

  1. C’mon Bob. You’re running to keep career politicians like Dean Skelos and Tim Libous in permanent charge of the State Senate. You’re every bit as much of a career pol as anyone else – you headed the Scarsdale GOP, and were active in other GOP campaigns. And you’re back for a second round trying to get into the Senate.

    It’s true you’re running to advance the Republican and Conservative agenda. Nothing wrong in that. But that’s not “reform”…that’s just advancing one (of two) partisan points of view.

    And if it’s partisanship you want to reform, how ’bout speaking out against the GOP’s gerrymander of the 37th SD. Oh wait. It was done to benefit YOU. No bold, breaking with the party on that one.

    Go Diane Roth!!!

  2. I met Bob during the last campaign season. Great guy. I’ve met a number of aspiring politicians and I could tell, this candidate really is sincere. More importantly, you can ask him questions and his answers show that he has a real understanding of what is happening in government and what needs to be done to fix it. I don’t know who will be running against him but I can’t imagine a more informed and genuinely concerned citizen that Mr. Cohen.

  3. Mickey Onaps on

    A “Hare’s breath”? Is Bob illiterate? Or was there some rabbit halitosis involved in the last campaign?

  4. Yo fran, I’m with Al and my brother Mickey on this one. If Cohen is my neighbor then I must live in New Rochelle because he up and moved from Scarsdale a couple months ago. Guess he knew something about the GOP senate lines we didn’t?

    And whats with announcing in Yonkers? Yonkers ain’t in the 37 senate district. Guess Cohen knows something we don’t.

    He says he couldn’t care less about politics so why was he the GOP chairman in Scarsdale?

    Scarsdale is a HARE’s BREATH out of the GOP proposed senate lines so Rabbit Cohen hopped on out of there.

    Mickey’s Big Brother Nicky

  5. Smartporpoise on

    The correct phrase is, of course, “A hair’s breadth,” – “breadth” meaning thickness or span. It has nothing to do with rabbits, nor does it have anything to do with breathing.

  6. Bob Hamilton on

    “Armonk Al” or better known as Jeff Binder is the registered Dem who thinks he knows how to run campaigns that talked Roth into running for no other reason except to make money. Of the one million people in Westchester, no one takes Roth seriously besides Binder.

  7. “Bob Hamilton” or better known as Jim Maisano, gave a roaring 34 second endorsement of Bob Cohen on his rarely visited youtube page this afternoon… Only 34 seconds? Obviously Jim Maisano, isn’t a man of many words… If he was he would have chosen a few more to inform the public of the FACT that he’s on the payroll of the GOP State Senate for the purpose of getting Bob Cohen elected!… Whatever the amount “Clueless Cohen” and the “Old Boys Club” of Albany are paying Mr. Maisano, it surely won’t be enough to fool the people of the 37th district that Bob Cohen is one of them.

  8. Bobby Hamilton on

    No, I am not Jim. But you do know me Jeff Binder and you are not that tricky with Armonk Al and Yonkers Joe…try to vary it next time. I will call Jim and let him know that you launched cheap nasty attacks on him under your phoney names. I hope Roth is not paying you too much to do these pathetic and desperate attacks on Bob Cohen – who will certainly be our next state senator.

  9. I am NOT Jeff Binder!… But I will call Jeff and let him know the Cohen campaign is launching cheap nasty attacks under phoney names… If you think pointing out the FACT that Jim Maisano is on the Cohen payroll, the FACT that Cohen is a “Slumlord”, the FACT that Cohen moved into a new district for the sole purpose of his own political gain… If you think these FACTS are “pathetic and desperate”, then Bobby, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

  10. I don’t know Armonk Al or Yonkers Joe, but I would appreciate if they would stop spreading around lies about me. Unlike the coward with these fake names, I am not anonymous – here I am. Yes, I work part-time for state senate as a special counsel, and no, this position has nothing to do with Bob Cohen’s campaign. I do support Bob Cohen 100% and will be working diligently on his campaign when not working for state senate or serving on county board. Of course, Bob Cohen is not a slumlord, he is a very successful real estate manager and businessman, and the fair campaign practice board found these allegations totally untrue in 2010. So there is your second lie. And yes, I did a brief 34 second video yesterday from the Cohen announcement, but my support for Bob will be clear and loud over the next 8 months. I will be endorsing him and introducing him all over my hometown of New Rochelle, where Bob will do very well. Now, please leave me out of your cowardly posts. I live at 93 Wilson Drive, New Rochelle, NY – feel free to stop by anytime – although cowards like you just hide behind your computer keyboard typing your shameful anonymous posts.

    Jim Maisano
    County Legislator

  11. Wow this race is going to be intense. I can’t believe how nasty Diane Roth is getting and she hasn’t even announced that she’s running yet. Latimer hasn’t done much as a legislator and should not be running for Senate or any other office but at least he’s a gentleman. Sounds like this Roth woman and her pit-bulls will look to make this a mean spirited race. Lets hope some adults in the Democratic Party calm her down and put an end to the nasty rhetoric.

  12. I would not be so dismissive of Diane Roth. What makes Cohen so special that he should be crowned king? These criticisms are beginning to sound like the Tone-deaf candidates being pushed by the party on the national level. Remember, women make up at least one-half of the voting population and the dismissive tone risks alienating women. Cohen seems like a nice guy, but honestly, 2 years ago, he ran against a weak candidate and other than his business success, he has no governmental experience to recommend him. Why should he get a district tailor-made just for him. He should earn it.

  13. Larry Goldstein on

    I am among Jim Maisano’s friends and supporters. I also work as his legislative aide. Before that I was news director and morning show host at WVOX 1460 AM in New Rochelle. If you think that disqualifies me from commenting, permit me to remind you — no man is a hero to his valet — or his legislative aide.

    Like everone else, Jim has his faults — and his strengths. One of his strengths is integrity. He is an honest man. He may get this or that issue right or wrong, but it is no trick to know what he thinks and why he thinks it. Ask him and he will tell you. Attack him for his positions if you wish. If you think Smith or Jones will be a better public servant than Bob Cohen, so be it — but I urge you to believe that Jim thinks Bob Cohen is special. Think about all the candidates Jim hasn’t gone out of his way to publicly endorse: why then, this special effort for Bob Cohen? Because Jim thinks Bob is special. Not because Jim’s job calls for it.

    Do you think Jim would fire me if I didn’t write this? Then you don’t know Jim. Do you think this comment gets me brownie points with Jim? Then you don’t know Jim. So get to know him. Chances are you will respect him, as I do. He is special.

  14. I apologize. In my previous post I referenced the Dems putting a muzzle on Roth’s pit-bulls. I assumed she was a Dem when I saw that Jeff Binder was working for her. I’d never heard of her before these posts so I did some research and realized she’s a Republican! I guess she’s never heard of Reagan’s 11th commandment. She won’t get very far by attacking fellow Republicans. If she thinks hiring a known democrat consultant will get her the GOP’s nod over Cohen then she’s really misinformed. I’m sure Binder promised her that he could get it done. I’d make Binder’s contract terms contingent on results if I were Roth.

  15. Matt Richter on

    Like my colleague Mr. Goldstein, I have to take exception to the unfounded claims leveled against Legislator Jim Maisano. I won’t jump to Maisano’s defense when he takes criticism for his legislative actions because frankly, he signed up for that by running for office. I do have to speak up about some of the nonsense thats being belched up here as it pertains to Jim’s work with the Senate and Cohen’s campaign. I am a VOLUNTEER, like Maisano on Cohen’s campaign. The campaign is blessed with a staff of proven campaign pros but Jim isn’t one of them. Jim’s State Senate work is as special counsel…he’s a lawyer and part-time at that. I’m sure the State Senate has a dedicated staff working on district lines…again, not Maisano. While I’m at it, I also know Jeff Binder and have worked with him. He may be working for Roth, he may be working for Latimer, I have no idea but I do know that Binder is a smart, professional consultant who does not put ideology above his practice as a campaign consultant or lawyer. I think its a testament to Binder’s professionalism that you will find him working for clients ALL OVER the political spectrum. I’m not sure how the commenters here have arrived at the conclusion that Messrs. Maisano or Binder would comment on in this forum behind a pseudonym but I’m pretty certain that they both have the stones necessary to comment under their real names.

  16. Cohen is a zero. All these paid Republican flacks around him make him seem like he’s some special pol. Not so. Has about one-inch thick depth on issues.

    Diane Roth will run rings around him. She’s got personality. He’s a stiff.

    When Diane wins, all the flacks will come running to her, because the only thing that matters is that the GOP keep the Senate. If they ran Quasimodo on the Republican line, then that’s okay, too.

  17. the consultant on

    Bob Cohen is a talented businessman and someone who believes that politics should
    not be a full time career for anyone..its one of the reasons he took on suzi oppenheimer
    who had been there so long that she thought the job was a lifetime appointment…We want
    citizens who are acitve like Bob to run…the fact that he was Scarsdale Chairman is not
    a knock on him..how many republicans have won scarsdale over the years..but bob did
    it because he wanted to do something constructive for the party that reflected his own
    personal views…that doesn’t make him part of the problem it makes him part of the solution..
    he demonstrated in the last run that his ability to attract independents and democrats to his
    campaign was extraordinary considering the demographic makeup of the district..now that
    the district is a bit more friendly to republicans he should win easily….and he will do a supurb
    job representing westchester county in the state senate honorably

  18. Smartporpoise on

    Cohen’s got MY vote. Despite the fact that neither he nor his speechwriter/publicist knows the difference between “hare’s breath,” and “hair’s breadth,” he says all the right things. Oppenheimer and her ilk have succeeded in year after year raising homeowners’ taxes to the outrageous point where property and especially school taxes are a worse bane on struggling households than our actual mortgage payments.

  19. BOB COHEN – Conservative
    DIANE DiDONATO-ROTH – Maverick Conservative
    SAM TERENZI – Super Conservative

    Which one of these Conservatives will join the 70+ year GOP Senate Majority – the folks who have run the Senate already, and voted for most of the bad things you hate about Albany.

    Give away to public employees – elimin. 3% contribution? Check. Senate GOP voted YES
    Big payout to SEIU 1199? Check. Senate GOP voted YES
    Budget after Budget after Budget from 1966 through 2008? Check. Senate GOP voted YES.

    So YES – let’s get some REAL CHANGE. Some new BLOOD. Vote for a TRUE Conservative who will be part of the status quo Senate.

    Let’s vote for a NEW FACE that will support the Same Old Guys: Dean Skelos. Tom Libous. etc.

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