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Democratic Candidates Debate To Represent Mamaroneck On BOL

Catherine Parker, of Rye, went head-to-head against Tom Murphy in an debate sponsored by the League of Women Voters on July 31. Photo Credit: Suzanne Samin
Tom Murphy, of Mamaroneck, went head-to-head against Catherine Parker in an debate sponsored by the League of Women Voters on July 31. Photo Credit: Suzanne Samin

MAMARONECK, N.Y. -- Democrats Tom Murphy of Mamaroneck and Catherine Parker of Rye debated Wednesday, vying for the Democratic nomination for a seat on the Westchester County Board of Legislators.

The debate was hosted by the League of Women Voters of Larchmont-Mamaroneck at the Mamaroneck Town Center.

Murphy and Parker are campaigning for the nomination to become legislator for District 7.

District 7 includes Rye, Mamaroneck, Larchmont and parts of Harrison and New Rochelle. Judith Myers, who has served four terms as legislator for the district, announced in May that she will not seek re-election.

The debate was moderated by Barbara Arrington-Dodds. Questions were submitted exclusively by the League of Women Voters and touched on subjects such as Rye Playland, flood mitigation and relief, property taxes, the housing settlement and the candidates' abilities to perform the duties of legislator.

Both candidates were critical of County Executive Rob Astorino's policies, and touched on his actions facing the County's housing settlement.

"Astorino is playing a dangerous game. 750 units throughout Westchester is not a lot. It's not egregious. He’s telling people the feds are going to change their zoning laws," said Murphy, who was a member of the Washingtonville Housing Alliance and an advocate for affordable housing. "He's doing it to scare people and divide us. Afforable housing is a gift. I grew up in it. (...) It saved our community."

Parker said doubling taxes "because of Astorino’s actions seems incredibly dangerous."

"I'm pretty sure the Justice Department is going get tired of this soon," she said.

Additionally, both candidates were asked what they felt needed to be fixed most in Westchester County, as well as what their highest priorities would be as an elected official.

For Parker, it would be environmental issues such as flood management, climate change and cleaning up the Long Island Sound. 

"Water knows no municipal boundaries. The best reason for county government is flood mitigation. The county should have helped Mamaroneck deal with flooding. We need more regional solutions. We need to go forward because climate change is a reality and it is making flooding happen more often," she said. 

For Murphy, it would be restoring faith in government.

"What needs fixing is people’s faith in government, because they believe, mostly rightly so, that money is corrupting it. The government doesn’t address needs of average people. They address the needs of corporations. (...) What I would propose is to have elected officials in Westchester County no longer take contributions from vendors, or anyone who has a contract through Westchester County," he said.

Parker has served two terms on the Rye City Council after being elected in 2007. She is the former president of the Rye Chamber of Commerce and the has owned the travel store Parkers in downtown Rye for 17 years.

Murphy served on the Mamaroneck Board of Trustees for six years before stepping down in 2009. 

Registered Democrats will choose between the two candidates in a primary election on Sept. 10. The winner of the primary will face Republican John Verni of New Rochelle in the November general election.

The primary will take place Sept. 10, with polling hours from 6 a.m. – 9 p.m.

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