Assemblyman George Latimer, a Rye Democrat, will run for the state Senate seat being vacated by longtime Sen. Suzi Oppenheimer.
Latimer, who had been toying with the idea of a run since Oppenheimer announced her retirement plans in January, announced the run in a letter that went out to district leaders this week.
“The changes we need – the changes I have fought for all my life – involve sacrifice from everybody, not just from ‘the other guy’,” Latimer wrote. “Property taxes are too high, and I have worked hard to address that major worry many of us face; it always comes up as the #1 local issue homeowners are concerned about.”
At least two Republicans have announced their intention to run for the seat: Bob Cohen, a New Rochelle businessman who was narrowly defeated by Oppenheimer in 2010; and Diane DiDonato-Roth, a North Castle councilwoman. Cohen officially launched his bid earlier this month, but had made his intentions known months earlier. He’s expected to meet later this week with members of the Independence Party, which backed Cohen in his 2010 run.
Latimer, who served as chairman of the Westchester County Board of Legislators from 1998 to 2001, said in his letter that he’s “not here to sell ‘snake oil solutions.’”
“I grew up in a tough, poor part of this County. My parents worked hard and sacrificed, to give me a better life than they had. That’s still possible for the next generation,” he wrote. “And that’s what I’m going to fight for in the State Senate. Join me.”
UPDATE: Here’s a response from Bill O’Reilly, Cohen’s campaign spokesman:
“We welcome Mr. Latimer into this race, but find it head-scratching, frankly, that he would bring up property taxes in his announcement. Westchester families pay the highest property taxes in America because of what George Latimer did as a county legislator and as an assemblyman. He and the other career politicians are directly responsible for the staggering property taxes Westchester families pay today. On top of that, Mr. Latimer voted against last year’s historic property tax cap vote and he went MIA for Governor Cuomo’s pension reform vote last week that will ease costs on local governments. We look forward to discussing all these issues at length throughout this campaign.”
UPDATE x2: We have ourselves a spokesmen duel. Read the Latimer campaign’s response here.
Latimer’s full letter to district leaders can be read after the jump, as well as a map of the newly configured 37th Senate District, which Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law last week. It’s still subject to a review from the U.S. Justice Department.
“This is a time for people to hear the truth – not partisan platitudes – about what must be done in government.
The changes we need – the changes I have fought for all my life – involve sacrifice from everybody, not just from ‘the other guy’.
Property taxes are too high, and I have worked hard to address that major worry many of us face; it always comes up as the #1 local issue homeowners are concerned about.
But I’m also worried that we are going to wreck the good things we’ve created, over many years: our transportation system, our police and fire protection, health care for our seniors and veterans, education for our kids, all because our political system has been captured by cynical politicians who play to people’s anger. Their voices are drowning out the reasonable and rational majority of us. Those politicians are trying to tear down the very things our grandparents and parents fought so hard to build.
I’m not here to sell “snake oil solutions”. I grew up in a tough, poor part of this County. My parents worked hard and sacrificed, to give me a better life than they had. That’s still possible for the next generation.
And that’s what I’m going to fight for in the State Senate. Join me.”