On Tuesday, February 9, 2009, there will be a special election to elect a member to the New York State Assembly for the 89th District. The race is between Peter Harckham and Robert Castelli. The following is biographical information from their websites.
Peter Harckham was first elected in November 2007 to the Westchester County Board of Legislators, representing all of northeast Westchester. Pete has focused on protecting the fragile drinking water supplies that serve both Westchester and New York City. Pete also introduced and passed legislation that will toughen the penalties for DWI and will reduce the burden to taxpayers for the cost of DWI offenders. Before being elected to the BOL, Pete served as President of A-HOME, a not for profit that builds affordable housing in northern Westchester. Pete has been a communications professional since 1983 when he started his career on Madison Avenue and worked for ten years for major advertising agencies. Today he is President of a strategic partnership of advertising, communications and production professionals.
Robert J. Castelli is a Vietnam veteran who, after a 21 year career in the the New York State Police which included service on the Organized Crime Task Force, went on to receive his graduate degree in public administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. As a small businessman, he operates a security consulting business where he provides expert advice and commentary to television and print media on criminal justice and homeland security matters. He is a former Lewisboro Councilman, and was chair of the Public Safety and Emergency Services Committees of County Executive Rob Astorino’s transition team.
In my opinion, Peter Harckham is the better choice for the 89th Assembly Districy for several reasons. First, Peter Harckham has served Mount Kisco well in the Westchester County Legislature. He has always been accessible and has worked for our interests. Second, I am more impressed by Peter Harckham’s record in Westchester than Robert Castelli’s record in Lewisboro. In 2009, Lewisboro had to raise taxes by over 25%. Some of that increase is a result of Lewisboro public officials in the early 2000s, including Robert Castelli, not focusing on long-term fiscal planning but on short-term results to boost their political profile. Most importantly, I think that Peter Harckham can best represent us in the Assembly. The Assembly is controlled by Democrats. If there is to be meaningful change in Albany, it will have to be pursued by a reform-minded Democrat like Peter Harckham.