In a choice hardly surprising but decidedly emphatic, Rockland Republicans Thursday evening nominated current county legislator Ed Day to seek the post of County Executive in the coming November 5 election.
Dozens of politicians and constituents packed Clarkstown Town Hall for the Rockland County Republican Committee's convention to select the GOP candidate for the heated County Executive race later this year.
Delegates from Stony Point, Montebello and a slate of other municipalities nominated Day in quick succession, with the seven-year Rockland legislator and one-time NYPD patrolman emerging as the sole nominee.
In a speech on the heels of rousing applause, Day accepted the vote of confidence and focused a pithy speech on perhaps the most pressing issue facing the county—a deep and growing deficit.
"I will ensure that the county's budget is run with at least the same care of your household budget, because it is the morally and fiscally right thing to do," Day said.
Rockland has a projected deficit hovering around the nine-digit mark—$100 million.
"There is no doubt challenges abound," Day added, citing Rockland's high taxes, over-development and recent corruption charges.
Day hopes to fill the shoes of fellow Republican C. Scott Vanderhoef, the sitting, embattled County Executive who has been at the helm of Rockland since 1993. Vanderhoef announced he would not be running for re-election in October of last year.
Day said a tax uptick is course he will seek to avoid if elected.
"I recognize that increasing taxes is not the answer; it is a job killer and a people chaser," he said. Day noted he would instead rely on "new service models," "effective consolidations" and shared services to diminish Rockland's fiscal woes.
Rockland Republicans also nominated Donna Held as the party's challenger in the race for County Clerk; Held will face off against current clerk and Democrat Paul Piperato.
In a keynote address delivered by Michael Lawler—the executive director of the Republican Party of New York State—a crowd of dozens roared approval as the Rockland native touted Ed Day and tore into local Democrats.
"The problems facing this county are great," Lawler said, noting gaggles of Rockland residents are opting to move elsewhere due to an unfriendly economic policies in New York.
"We need to elect Ed Day this November," he continued. "[Day] will implement policies that help create jobs, not kill them. Most importantly, he understands the importance of preserving Rockland County for our families and future."
Lawler reserved several minutes to assail familiar Democrats, labeling Harriet Cornell's and Ilan Schoenberger's leadership of the county's legislature "disastrous."
He also blasted Rockland county clerk Piperato, for sharing Rockland's gun ownership data with The Journal News earlier this year. Piperato was required by law to share the data, but peers in Putnam County refused to fork over the documents.
As the convention petered out around the 9:30 p.m. mark, groups of Rocklanders—some outfitted in red, white and blue "Ed Day for County Executive" t-shirts—remained to chat with Day.