Rye City Council member Catherine Parker is gearing up to run for Westchester County Board of Legislators and the sound shore's current legislator Judy Myers (D-Larchmont) will be leaving her position this year, "term-limiting herself," they announced during a press conference on Thursday morning at the Mamaroneck Town Center.
“I want to do this because I feel I can best serve Rye by taking this to the next level and champion issues I have been fighting for in Rye,” Parker said after the conference.
Myers told Parker she wanted the her take the BOL seat and Parker considered it carefully, knowing that local Rye Democrats would want her to run for mayor this year, she said.
“I believe I learned a lot serving in Rye and I’ve cut my teeth on Rye politics. I am ready to go to the next level,” she said.
Parker feels the Rye council has been successful at keeping taxes low, addressing infrastructure needs, working for mandate relief and with mandates while providing services to the community. These are issues she will continue to focus on at the county level, if elected, she said.
Parker was elected to Rye City Council in 2007 and again in 2011. For the last two years, she has been the only non-Republican on the seven-member council and believes that experience would help her work effectively in county government.
“The government best serves people when you put party politics aside and deal with the issues at hand,” she said. Parker emphasized the importance of listening to constituents and working respectfully with colleagues in the best interest of the community.
Although she has been widely considered the only Democrat on the council, Parker actually only became a registered Democrat last November, she said. Before that she was an Independent.
Myers has served as a county legislator for eight years and is currently the chair of the Westchester County Board of Legislators Budget and Appropriations Committee. She believes in self-imposed terms and felt it is time for her to leave to give someone new a chance to help shape law and policies at the county level, Parker said.
“Eight and a half years ago I stood on these very steps in a pouring cold rain to announce that I was entering a special election to replace George Latimer as the County Legislator for the Seventh District,” said Myers. “I went on to win four terms, sometimes easily and sometimes not. But today I stand here to say that I believe in term limits. I voted for eight year term limits on the County Board of Legislators, and although it ended up at twelve years, I am ‘term limiting’ myself out at the end of this year and will not seek re-election to this office in November.”
Myers’ district currently includes the City of Rye, portions of the Towns of Rye and Harrison, plus the Villages of Larchmont and Mamaroneck the Town of Mamaroneck and part of New Rochelle.
Parker's Departure Could Leave Six Open Seats in Rye
Parker’s departure from Rye city council would leave five empty seats this election year hers, in addition to incumbents Peter Jovanovich, Julie Killian and Richard Filippi and incumbent Mayor French, whose terms all end this year.
Killian will be seeking re-election, Filippi is not expected to run for another term, and Jovanivich has notified the Rye GOP that he is considering a run for mayor, according to The Rye Sound Shore Review. Rye resident Jason Mehler announced his intentions to run for city council this month as well.
Mayor Douglas French announced he will not be running for re-election this year. Following French's announcement, Councilman Joe Sack said he is seeking the Republican City Committee’s nomination. If Sack runs for mayor, that will leave six of seven city council seats up for grabs this election season.
Councilwoman Laura Brett’s term is not set to expire until 2015 and she has not announced any intentions to run for another political role at this time.
A press release from the county BOL listed Myers' accomplishments since taking office in March 2005:
- Legislation that mandates calorie counts in fast food establishments in Westchester
- County compliance with the mandated nitrogen removal in the Long Island Sound and helped secure federal funding to lessen the burden on Sound Shore taxpayers while resuscitating the waters of the Sound and keeping the County from undue penalties
- Participation on the County’s Flood Action Task Force which secured $4.5 million for area flood control projects in Rye and Mamaroneck
- Assisted in developing and ensuring approval of a lease for the Westchester Children’s Museum to occupy the recently renovated north bathhouse at Playland
- Sponsored legislation to protect access to reproductive health clinics in Westchester County
- Six years of service on the County’s Board of Health and making sure that the Board of Legislators and the Department of Health worked together on public health initiatives
- Service on the Westchester Medical Center Financial Review Committee as a legislative representative, on the ArtsWestchester Board of Directors, and on the Citizens’ Committee in the review of the proposals to re-invent Playland.
- Chair of the BOL Family Services Committee in 2006-2007 and successful advocacy for a county-wide child care scholarship program later discontinued by County Executive Astorino
- Chair of the BOL Budget & Appropriations Committee since 2012 and tasked with oversight of County spending