Westchester Legislator Michael Kaplowitz, D-Somers, who shook up his party when he and another legislator voted with Republicans on the 2013 county budget, has announced he is running for reelection this year.
Kaplowitz, who represents District 4 in Yorktown, Somers and New Castle, cited his “independence, leadership in reducing taxes and spending, protecting the environment and saving energy costs,” in announcing the bid.
“At a time when extreme partisanship and political games are paralyzing government at every level, I have sought to be an independent voice for the people of Northern Westchester and Westchester County,” he said in a statement. “I have worked with county executives and legislators of both parties to control spending and enhance Westchester’s special quality of life.”
Kaplowitz, who has not caucused with the Democrats in about a year, went on to say:
I passionately support legislators of both parties when I agree with them on strengthening public safety, preserving open space, fighting for equal rights and other responsible issues. And I don’t vote with them, as I did recently on the budget, when some legislators’ priorities were not fiscally responsible nor in line with the priorities of the people I represent and the people of Westchester County.
I have cut more than $130 million in spending and taxes from the budget proposals of county executives and prevented millions more in unnecessary borrowing. In 2013 alone, I helped cut the county tax for all citizens in New Castle, Somers and Yorktown, and for the third year in a row helped lower or have no increase in both taxes and spending.
I am working to create a Local Development Corporation to help hospitals, universities, nursing homes and other on-profits improve their facilities, significantly cut their borrowing costs through the use of tax-free bonds, and create good paying jobs without any liability or cost to taxpayers.
In the last budget, I restored park jobs and kept Hilltop-Hanover, Muscoot and Lasdon Parks fully open and staffed along with the North County Trailway. I also succeeded in reauthorizing the Agricultural District, which I helped to create, and which preserves the open spaces of Westchester’s remaining family farms.
After a decade long fight, I succeeded in adding homes in New Castle to the county sewer district and am working to get new sewers for Yorktown homes with failing septics. I am leading the fight to allocate $10 million in Watershed funding to help these New Castle and Yorktown homeowners as well as those in Somers pay for their sewer upgrades.
At my urging and as chair of the County Board’s Environment and Energy Committee, Westchester has become a leader in reducing our dependence on foreign oil. We have created incentives for the use of solar energy, installed energy saving technologies in county facilities, established a centralized state-of-the-art recycling facility and have reduced carbon emissions.
Much remains to be accomplished in cutting costs while maintaining quality services. Since I was first elected, I have carefully examined every budget line each year to find and root out waste, create efficiencies, and remove bloated contracts and unnecessary perks that make government unnecessarily expensive. Protecting taxpayers is my first mission that I will continue to pursue when I am re-elected in November.”
Mike Kaplowitz has represented the 4th County Legislative District (New Castle, Somers and Yorktown) since 1998.
Photo: Legislator Michael Kaplowitz