Westchester County Legis. Bill Ryan, a Democrat from White Plains, says County Executive Rob Astorino has no real plan for the county -- except maybe to slash programs like child care, parks and infrastructure.
In blasting the county executive earlier this week, Ryan, a former chairman of the Board of Legislators, said he wants Astorino’s job. The tea party approach to government won’t work in Westchester, Ryan says.
“The county executive doesn’t understand the vital role of county government,” Ryan told me on Tuesday.
Westchester has “always been a great place to live,” Ryan said. “For the past three years, the flawed plans, policies and decisions of the county executive have put that greatness in jeopardy.”
In being the first Democrat to acknowledge a candidacy, Ryan now leads what is expected to be a long list of hopefuls before the election in November 2013.
For sure, he’ll be joined by others who think they have the vision and know-how to knock off the state GOP’s rising star.
In Westchester, challengers are no doubt encouraged by the Democrats’ roughly 2-to-1 enrollment advantage.
Other Democratic names mentioned have been Board of Legislators Chairman Ken Jenkins of Yonkers, Assemb. Amy Paulin of Scarsdale, County Clerk Tim Idoni of New Rochelle and, if he doesn’t win the State Senate race in a week, Assemb. George Latimer of Rye. Other names that may pop up are former Assemb. Richard Brodsky of Greenburgh, Yonkers City Councilman Chuck Lesnick and New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson.
More hopefuls will surface and some will drop off. It’s become political sport to decipher the pretenders from the contenders. And we’re more than a year out.
At the county office building in White Plains, Astorino’s got a government to run and a budget to put together -– one with a huge gap between revenues and expenses. But you know his people are paying attention.
The Astorino campaign team says it isn’t paying much attention. “We welcome him to the race, but the 2013 elections are a long way from now,” said Jessica Proud, a spokeswoman for Astorino. “The county executive is entirely focused on governing and presenting another budget that continues to reform county government and holds the line on property taxes. There will be plenty of time for campaigning next year.”
Next year’s election is right around the corner. And Ryan’s announcement is only the beginning of all the jockeying.
Pictured above: Bill Ryan (D-White Plains) speaks at a press conference as Democratic members of the Westchester County Board of Legislatures discuss the future of the Rye Playland amusement park. (Aug. 10, 2012)