Sea Cliff mayor to challenge incumbent for assembly seat

Sea Cliff Mayor Bruce Kennedy outlined plans to Sea Cliff Mayor Bruce Kennedy outlined plans to challenge incumbent Charles Lavine for the 13th Assembly District seat in November. Photo Credit: Newsday / Jessica Rotkiewicz

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Sea Cliff Mayor Bruce Kennedy outlined plans Tuesday to challenge incumbent Charles Lavine for the 13th Assembly District seat in November.

"I'm putting my hat in the ring," Kennedy said.

His campaign committee, Friends of Bruce Kennedy, filed paperwork on Monday with the state Board of Elections to allow him to start raising funds for the race.

Kennedy, a 49-year-old Republican, was elected Sea Cliff mayor in 2009. Lavine, a Democrat, was elected to the Assembly in 2004.

Kennedy said he had held the line on property taxes, but Albany needs to enact mandate relief. "The biggest problem we have budgetarily are mandated costs from the state," he said. He described the pension reform of 2012, which lowered benefits and increased contributions for new employees, as a sham.

"Basically [it] provided no relief at all but made it look like they [lawmakers] did something," Kennedy said. He said "one of the big problems" is that it is not a 401(k)-like defined contribution plan.

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Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo had proposed such a plan for new employees, but the law that passed included that only as an option for some workers.

Kennedy said he also wanted to eliminate a state "scaffolding law" that makes employers liable for injuries on above-ground construction work. He said it "drives up costs."

Lavine, Kennedy said, had voted in line with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan), to the detriment of Long Island.

"He went to Albany under [former Nassau County Executive] Tom Suozzi's banner of fixing Albany," Kennedy said. "It's been 10 years, and Albany is still broken. . . . I do believe I could do better."

Lavine said the mayor is a friend with whom he has worked closely for years.

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"I have no doubt that I will continue to work with him to help the Village of Sea Cliff in my capacity as member of the Assembly and his capacity as mayor after the election as well," he said.

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