MAMARONECK, N.Y. Party lines were quickly and clearly drawn for residents like Elizabeth Saenger at the League of Women Voters debate in the Town Courtroom Wednesday night.
District 7 county legislator candidate Suzanna Keith (R-C) took aim at the voting record of her opponent, incumbent Judy Myers, claiming the 247 times Myers voted to overturn County Executive Robert Astorino's vetoes in her last term were 247 votes against the taxpayer.
But Myers defended her record and said Keiths support of Astorinos proposed budget would cut essential public health, safety and environmental services.
"The best thing we can do in the next two years is to continue to override all of the many vetoes that come down from the county executive so that we can continue to move Westchester forward," said Myers (D-WF-IN), who characterized her opponent's support of Astorino's policies as reckless.
District 7 includes Larchmont, Mamaroneck, Rye, part of Harrison and part of New Rochelle.
The crux of the debate rested on taxes versus spending. "The most important thing is to make our county affordable for the long term," Keith said.
Keith, a Rye city councilmember, ripped Myers for voting for the housing settlement, which she said was the same as writing a blank check for the county government. But Myers said the settlement capped the county's contribution at $51.6 million to build 750 units of affordable housing. She added that her vote helped save taxpayers close to $500,000 million in penalties.
"The settlement agreement has been called federal overreach, and social engineering and an integration order," Myers said. "I feel this rhetoric borders on racist and paints a very bad picture of Westchester County, and I hope my opponent would not further this kind of language."
Saenger, a village resident, applauded Myers' response, which she said she felt the debate format didn't allow enough of. "I find these debates frustrating because people throw things out there and they often don't have the choice to respond," said Saenger, who said she and her husband Robert will vote for Myers.
Watching from the back of the room, Bob Hiden, another village resident, agreed with Keith that decreased taxes were necessary in the county with the highest property taxes in the nation. His friend, disagreed.
"I think Suzanna is talking pie in the sky," said Tom Curnin, of Larchmont, who said he will vote for Myers. "All she was saying is you can make a better tomorrow by cutting taxes today."
Check back with The Daily Mamaroneck for details about the candidate debates held for local village mayor, trustee, and town council.
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