The Record-Review – The official newspaper of Bedford and Pound Ridge, New York

 

By DON HEPPNER & JOHN ROCHE

Democratic hopefuls seeking to unseat Congresswoman Nan Hayworth will face off in a primary Tuesday, as voters take to the polls to decide who will challenge the Republican incumbent in November.

Matt Alexander, Richard Becker, Sean Maloney, Duane Jackson and Tom Wilson are vying for the Democratic Party nod to run against Rep. Hayworth this fall.

The winner of the primary on June 26 will run against Ms. Hayworth, a retired ophthalmologist from Bedford who defeated two-term incumbent John Hall, a Democrat, in 2010. Ms. Hayworth’s district is set to change under redistricting from the 19th to the 18th. She will run against a Democratic challenger for a second two-year term representing a sprawling district that includes Bedford, Pound Ridge and portions of Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Orange and Dutchess counties.

Ms. Hayworth officially launched her bid for a second term in Congress with a gathering of fellow elected officials and other supporters in Newburgh on June 16. Although she won’t know who she’ll be running against until the polls close Tuesday night, she made a general statement about the Democrat she’ll face.

“My opponent will say, whoever he is, that we need to borrow more and tax more to fund another stimulus,” Ms. Hayworth said at her re-election campaign kickoff. “I say the only real stimulus is to let you keep more of what you earn, what you work so hard for, to keep it here and allow our businesses, small ones, big ones, old ones and new ones to do what they do best — create jobs.”

Mr. Alexander, the mayor of Wappingers Falls, said he’s running “because our current congresswoman has a tin ear when it comes to the needs of the people.”

In an email response to questions sent to each of the five Democrats running in the primary, Mr. Alexander outlined why he is seeking the seat. “As a local mayor who is good at partnering with upper levels of government, I am used to fighting in order to help the people I serve,” he said. “However, I found Representative Nan Hayworth a truly unwilling person. When I met with her last year in my capacity as mayor of Wappingers Falls, I came to her as a representative of my community advocating for clean drinking water. Our lake, which provides us drinking water, had been polluted from years of overdevelopment and neglect. Our residents were unable to drink their own water, and the only other option we had was to pay an exorbitant fee to pipe water in from elsewhere. Nan Hayworth took no interest in our problem and went on to tell me that she believes government is only here for ‘interstate highways and national defense.’ As chair of my local watershed committee and a mayor whose residents have been plagued by bad water, I had no choice but to challenge her for her congressional seat.”

Dr. Becker, a cardiologist who also serves as a Cortlandt town councilman, has been endorsed by the Bedford Democratic Committee and the Pound Ridge Town Democratic Committee. Dr. Becker said Ms. Hayworth’s record in her freshman term prompted him to challenge her.
“I’m running for Congress because I think the Hudson Valley deserves a leader who’ll fight for the middle class in Washington and who understands everything we’re going through,” Dr. Becker said. “I got into this race after Nan Hayworth went down to Washington and voted for the Paul Ryan budget, which would end Medicare in its current form and replace it with private vouchers, and then came back to this district and claimed she’d voted to save Medicare. I couldn’t sit on the sidelines when she did that.”
Attorney Sean Patrick Maloney, the former White House staff secretary under President Bill Clinton and a former top aide to two New York governors, Eliot Spitzer and David Paterson, said he decided to run “because middle class families have been getting squeezed for far too long,” and said he would focus on job creation and a balanced federal budget if elected. President Clinton has endorsed his former White House staffer.

“In Congress, I will work tirelessly for middle class families and make sure that we are creating jobs, balancing the budget and protecting integral programs like Medicare and Social Security,” Mr. Maloney said. “Working alongside President Clinton, I learned firsthand that people — not politics or ideology — come first. Washington, embodied by Nan Hayworth and the Tea Party, has completely lost sight of that.”

Mr. Wilson, the mayor of Tuxedo Park, said that he decided to run after seeing the district repeatedly misrepresented and underserved by Ms. Hayworth.

“I decided to run for the Democratic nomination so that I could successfully bring the fight to Nan and her Tea Party agenda,” he said. “While the other candidates might have the best of intentions, the people in the 18th District need real solutions, not rhetoric from their elected officials.”

Mr. Wilson said that as an effective mayor, he has demonstrated a successful record in running a municipality without state or federal funding while still meeting the needs of his constituents.

“I am frustrated with seeing our legislators ignore the needs and concerns of their constituents in favor of pursuing purely political and ideological agendas,” he said. “This is why I believe we need more mayors in Congress. Mayors know how to get things done.”

Duane Jackson, the street vendor who helped alert police to the attempted car bombing of Times Square in 2010, is a trustee in the town of Buchanan, a Vietnam veteran and veterans advocate. Mr. Jackson did not reply to the candidate questions by press time, but on his website said he would focus on job creation, economic growth, bipartisan cooperation in Congress and would support health care reform through the Affordable Care Act.

Mr. Jackson is a Vietnam-era veteran who used the GI Bill in 1973 to receive a Bachelor of Science degree from Boston University in city planning. He has 15 years of planning experience in New York, Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Boston. For the past 22 years, Mr. Jackson has been a small-business owner in New York City, employing several people and running three businesses.

Duane Jackson is a member of the American Legion, the Disabled American Veterans Association, and he is president of Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 817, and their motto is “Freedom Is Not Free.”

Since 1994, Mr. Jackson has lived in the Hudson Valley with his wife, Linda, and their two children, who attended school in the Hendrick Hudson School District.


Jobs at the forefront

Each of the Democratic candidates identified jobs as among the major issues facing the district.

Mr. Alexander said he has a record of creating jobs that he plans to continue to build on if elected to Congress. “I am the only candidate in this race who has directly created jobs from my position in government,” he said. “I grew our municipality by 17 percent in one of the worst recessions since the Great Depression by investing money in our local infrastructure. We found that the investments we made in our infrastructure and development not only created jobs in the short-term but also attracted new businesses and shops that previously would not have chosen our community. I believe my approach and success in creating jobs is a great blueprint for the rest of the country. It shows that every town and village in our district can and should be a job incubator so that so many of our residents do not have to commute hours each day to and from work.”
Mr. Maloney outlined his plans to address jobs and the economy, which he considers the most pressing issues in the district.

“The problems that face the country are the same ones that face families across the district on both sides of the river,” he said. “My experience working with President Clinton shows a clear blueprint of how we can strengthen the economy right here in the Hudson Valley. For instance, I want to make sure we’re investing in regional infrastructure through strong public-private partnerships to bring massive investments in our roads, bridges and communities throughout the 18th District. These strengthen our towns, create jobs and show a commitment to modernizing our infrastructure and bringing it into the 21st century and further enhance Pound Ridge and Bedford as a beautiful place to live and work.”

Dr. Becker explained how he would improve the economy and create and preserve jobs. “The biggest issue facing our district is the economy and lack of good, middle-class jobs, he said. “As a successful small-business man, I know what it takes to create good jobs here, and I know how the federal government can do a better job helping out. Public infrastructure investments must be a key component of jump-starting economic growth. There are dozens of projects, such as dams that need to be replaced, schools that are falling apart, and roads that washed out during Hurricane Irene in the Hudson Valley that we could start work on now. These would put people back to work and make us much more competitive over the long term.”
Dr. Becker also stressed the importance of addressing the nation’s reliance on foreign oil.
“We should also begin a multibillion-dollar investment in clean energy that could have revolutionary impacts on American national security and the environment,” he said. “We need to stop importing billions of dollars of foreign oil every year. Our resources would be better spent on environmentally friendly products created right here by American workers.”

Mr. Wilson also believes the main issue facing the district is jobs. “Whether I am in a city or in one of our many towns, the concerns brought by the Great Recession continue to be raised,” he said. “For the 18th District to become a robust and thriving part of New York State’s economy we must provide gainful employment with living wages and encourage responsible economic development.”

As congressman, Mr. Wilson said he would aggressively pursue economic relief for small businesses, the middle class and revitalization of communities. “These measures would include auto-resetting mortgages and student loans to fixed rates and creating tax free zones on Main Streets throughout the district to encourage economic growth locally,” he said. “Another aspect of the revitalization of the Hudson Valley would include building and retrofitting our current infrastructure to adapt to the needs of our constituents today and far into the future.”

Health care reform is a major issue he plans to effectively tackle, according to Dr. Becker. “As a doctor, protecting Medicare and making sure that everyone has access to affordable health care is also a key issue, and it’s one on which I believe my experience and expertise would allow me to be a leader,” he said. “I believe that having a doctor leading the charge against future versions of the Ryan budget and in support of improving, not repealing, the Affordable Care Act could make a dramatic difference.”
Mr. Maloney touched on what he believes are the most pressing issues specifically facing Bedford and Pound Ridge. “Like many towns in the 18th Congressional District, Bedford and Pound Ridge are facing similar challenges including infrastructure needs, education and how other public services can be modernized and made more efficient to meet the needs of the community,” Mr. Maloney said. “Unlike Congresswoman Hayworth, I believe that the federal government can and should have a meaningful role in making sure that local communities and private industry partners receive funding and cooperation to invest in clean, modern infrastructure and are luring businesses to prosper and put down roots. Bedford and Pound Ridge are beautiful and are a unique mix of suburban and rural. They are not just weekend homes. Bedford and Pound Ridge need top teachers and medical providers, and well-trained, well-equipped police and firefighting forces. The government has a significant role to play there.” 


Indian Point remains concern

Mr. Alexander identified the Indian Point nuclear power plant as one of the main concerns facing Bedford and Pound Ridge residents specifically. “I am not afraid to say that I believe Indian Point is a relic of a bygone era,” he said. “We should start taking the steps to gradually and responsibly decommission Indian Point, and we can take a crucial first step by not renewing its license. We should take this opportunity to invest in more clean, renewable energy.”

Mr. Wilson also pointed to Indian Point as a top concern for Bedford and Pound Ridge. “I fully support the immediate closure of this facility and call for the investment in cleaner, renewable forms of energy for the Hudson Valley,” Mr. Wilson said.

Dr. Becker said environmental concerns remain a top concern to the towns of Bedford and Pound Ridge, and he shares those concerns.

“I think one primary issue is protecting the environment, particularly our water supply,” he said. “I actually got my start in politics as an environmental activist, when I worked to save Dickerson Mountain, one of the tallest and most pristine peaks in Westchester, and its surrounding watershed from being destroyed by an out-of-control developer. As a doctor, I am also very wary about things like hydrofracking, which threaten our health over the long term without any possibility of finding a fix if things go wrong.”

Each of the candidates explained what he believes sets him apart from the other Democratic hopefuls in this race.

“I think my long experience in our community is something special,” Dr. Becker said.  “I’ve been living in the Hudson Valley for my entire adult life, the last 35 years, and I’ve seen up close and personal what’s going on in our community. When I go door to door, whether it’s in Bedford or Beacon, I am constantly seeing patients of mine and people I’ve known well for decades. That gives me a different perspective on this race than some other candidates. Part of that experience is my experience creating hundreds of good, middle-class jobs right here.”

Mr. Alexander also weighed in on what sets him apart. “As mayor of a village with an equal number of Democrats and Republicans, I am used to finding bipartisan solutions that serve everybody’s interests,” Mr. Alexander said. “I am the only candidate in this race who has experience bringing both sides of the aisle together while creating jobs on the municipal level. As the only certified public accountant in this race, I know how to balance the books and I know exactly what kind of approach to investments is needed in order to create jobs. I have a proven track record of success in this area, and I believe that I could put my accounting background and record of helping people on the grass-roots level to effective use in Washington.”

Mr. Maloney explained why he believes his unique professional experience sets him apart from his fellow Democrats in the primary. “I am the only candidate that brings a crucial mix of government experience at the state and federal level, in addition to successful private-sector experience,” Mr. Maloney said. “I know from experience what it takes to rise to the challenge of today’s economy using every available tool and how to make the system work for New Yorkers. We can’t wait a single day to start working to get our economy going again, and in this primary only I have the tools to do this on Day One. Only I come with a clear record of accomplishments that the district needs.” 

Mr. Wilson said that he is set apart from the other Democratic candidates by his experience and history. “While the other candidates are good men with good intentions, I am one of only two candidates that resides in the district, and the only one who has consistently provided specific solutions for the issues we currently face,” Mr. Wilson said. “I have worked in the 18th District before the election, and I plan on remaining after June 26 to make the Hudson Valley a better place.”


Bedford, Pound Ridge committees endorse Becker

Bruce Yablon, chairman of the Bedford Democratic Committee, said Dr. Becker, who was also endorsed by The New York Times, “has shown a genuine understanding and expertise on one of the issues most relevant to the Hudson Valley.” 

Mr. Yablon said that Dr. Becker’s economic and environmental positions and his plan to fix the “broken health insurance system” merited the Bedford committee’s support. “He has fought and won for the environment, overwhelmingly won local elections, and has worked to create local home heating cooperatives when older patients of his began asking how low the thermostat can be before they will get deathly ill because of the rising cost of fuel and the pain it inflicts on seniors on a fixed income,” Mr. Yablon said. “He is a cardiologist with a big heart running against an ophthalmologist who is blind to the needs of the Hudson Valley.”

At the Pound Ridge Democratic Town Committee meeting held in March, and after having met with all of the candidates who had announced their intentions to run at that point, the Pound Ridge Democratic Town Committee voted to endorse Dr. Becker for Congress. 

“Dr. Becker presented us with the most comprehensive plan for how he intends to successfully challenge Congresswoman Nan Hayworth,” committee chairwoman Roslyn Stone-Pollock said this week. “His grasp of the issues, and health care issues in particular, were impressive.”

She said that he has organized a well-run campaign which will be necessary to win, and his track record in the district and in Cortlandt, particularly with his simple but effective home heating oil cooperative, showed that he thinks outside the box and can get things done. 

“We were fortunate to have an excellent pool of Democratic congressional candidates, but we believe Dr. Becker can win, will be a strong voice for our Democratic values and quickly become a leader in Congress,” said Ms. Stone-Pollock.

Polling places in Bedford and Pound Ridge will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on June 26.

Residents with questions about the voting process, registration or other issues can call the county board of elections at 995-5700. Bedford residents can also call the town clerk’s office at 666-4534, and Pound Ridge residents can call 764-5549.



Read more local coverage of your hometown in this week’s issue of the The Record-Review. Newsstand copies are available at several locations listed above, or subscribe today for convenient home delivery.

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The official newspaper of the towns of Bedford and Pound Ridge, New York

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Pound Ridge/Scotts Corners

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  3. Sam Parker Country Market — 257 Westchester Avenue    


Bedford Village

  1. Bedford Rexall Pharmacy — Hunting Ridge Mall; 424 Old Post Road  

  2. Village Green Deli — Village Green; Routes 22 and 172    

  3. Bedford Shell — Routes 22 and 172 (at blinking light); 848 So. Bedford Road

  4. Village Service Center —193 Pound Ridge Road (at Long Ridge Road intersection)    


Bedford Hills

  1. Bedford Hills Deli – 7 Babbitt Road    

  2. Bueti’s Deli – 526 Bedford Road (Route 117)


Katonah

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  2. Steger’s Paper Mill – 89 Katonah Avenue    

  3. Katonah Pharmacy – Katonah Shopping Center; 294 Katonah Avenue   

  4. Bagel Shoppe – Katonah Shopping Center; 280 Katonah Avenue    

  5. Katonah Sunoco – 105 Bedford Road


Mount Kisco

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Cross River

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ARCHIVES

June 22, 2012

Five Democrats vie to unseat Rep. Nan Hayworth

‘I am not afraid to say that I believe Indian Point is a relic of a bygone era.’

Matt Alexander

I decided to run for the Democratic nomination so that I could success-fully bring the fight to Nan and her Tea Party agenda.’

Tom Wilson

‘The biggest issue facing our district is the economy and lack of good, middle-class jobs.’

Dr. Richard Becker

‘I want to make sure we’re investing in regional infrastructure through strong public-private partnerships.’

Sean Maloney

For the past 22 years, Duane Jackson has been a small-business owner in New York City.