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Latimer In For 'Difficult First Few Months,' Says Astorino

On the left, Ken Jenkins of Yonkers, who was appointed Deputy County Executive with his new boss, County Executive George Latimer, D-Rye. Some see Jenkins' appointment as Latimer being pulled more philosophically to the liberal left on issues. Photo Credit: File
Former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino at his White Plains office on one of his final days. Photo Credit: Jon Craig

This story has been updated.

Defeated Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino predicted his Democratic successor, George Latimer, will find himself boxed into a liberal-leaning agenda because of the “Trump factor” that elected him and the county Board of Legislators’ gain of three seats, giving it a 12 to 5 voting majority.

Democrats only enjoyed a 9 to 8 majority under Astorino, making it more difficult to block his more conservative agenda.

“It is overwhelming when you first come in as he'll find out. ... It will be a difficult first few months,” Astorino told Daily Voice, saying his first term was rough initially.

Latimer will find he gets “18 million requests from everyone wanting everything,’’ Astorino said. The Republican from Mount Pleasant said that was a key point he planned to make during a lunch with Latimer last month. “The taxpayer is the most important thing to remember,’’ said Astorino, whose budgets never called for an increase in the property tax rate. He called the recent passage of a 2 percent property tax increase bad for Westchester.

Latimer reacted: "Frankly, I think we've had a very good first month. We've appointed top-notch people as County Attorney, Deputy County Executive, Director of Communications and Director of Operations.

"I've held two well attended Coffee & Conversation Town Halls; visited 8 local Council meetings, and moved forward on a number of issues very aggressively. We have a lot ahead of us, but I'm confident residents are responding well to our efforts.”

Another key indicator, according to other political observers, was Latimer's appointment of retiring County Legislator Ken Jenkins of Yonkers to be Deputy County Executive.

Jenkins spent a quarter-century serving the people of Yonkers through his public service. First elected to the county Board of Legislators in 2007, Jenkins served as chairman of the BOL from 2010 through 2014. Jenkins has been a vocal advocate for affordable housing and social justice in Westchester.

Latimer said, “I consider Ken Jenkins to be an outstanding elected official and community leader. He has shown, time and again, that moving Westchester forward is at the heart of his actions and efforts. He will bring practical experience to the team as we tackle the issues facing Westchester, together.”

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