WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. ‒ David Buchwald of White Plains is challenging New York State Assemblyman Robert Castelli to represent the 93 District. Castelli currently represents the 89th District. The 93rd District includes Bedford, Harrison, Lewisboro, Mount Kisco, New Castle, North Castle, North Salem, Pound Ridge and White Plains.
Name: David Buchwald
How long have you lived in town: I grew up in Westchester County and have lived in White Plains for a decade.
Party Affiliation and ballot lines held: I am running on the Democratic, Independence, and Working Families Party lines.
Years in office: Three, as a White Plains City Councilman.
Civic organizations: Chairman, Metro-North Railroad Commuter Council; chairman, White Plains Traffic Commission; board member, White Plains Historical Society.
1) What are the three biggest issues facing your district or town?
The top issue in this election is the state of the economy. My top priority is to create good, middle class jobs in Westchester. There are still too many people out of work and looking for a job, and we need to be taking aggressive action to change that. The second biggest issue facing communities here in the 93rd Assembly District is the high cost of living and our rising property taxes. We need to control the tax burden that our local homeowners and businesses are facing. I’m very proud that White Plains has been in compliance with Gov. Cuomo’s property tax cap, but New York still has a long way to go. Finally, we need to ensure that our assemblyman is really representing us. We need to build a better connection between us and Albany and make sure State Government is listening to us.
2) How would you address those issues?
In White Plains, I have a strong record of working with local small businesses and making smart investments in our infrastructure that help create jobs. We need to be finding innovative ways to improve the business climate here and ensure that the jobs of the future are based in our communities, and I am particularly proud that I’ve helped bring science and technology jobs here. I have a strong working relationship with our Business Improvement District, and would work closely with Chambers of Commerce and BIDs across the district. It is also important that we have an Assemblyman who votes to support a woman’s right to choose – not vote repeatedly to defund abortion even when a woman’s health is in danger – and supports key initiatives like Marriage Equality and sensible gun safety legislation. For more information on my plan to reduce property taxes, see question 4.
3) If you are an incumbent, what were your biggest achievements? If you are a challenger or running for an open seat, what would you do differently than the previous office holder?
The biggest difference between Assemblyman Castelli and me is my commitment to actually represent our values and put results over rhetoric. It is one thing to say you’re pro-choice but it is another to actually vote that way. Our Assemblyman hasn’t, which is why I’ve been endorsed by every major pro-choice group in our state. It is one thing to say you’ll keep our streets safe, but if you’re earning an “A” from the NRA most voters here would agree you’re not voting the right way on sensible gun safety legislation. Assemblyman Castelli gives lip service to the issues that matter to our families, but the fact is that he hasn’t produced results for us on important issues like mandate relief. We need an assemblyman who does more than talk a good game, but actually rolls back unfunded mandates and helps lower our property taxes.
4) Westchester is among the highest-taxed counties in the nation. What would you do to lower the tax burden. Be specific.
At the heart of rising property taxes are the unfunded mandates that prevent towns and school districts from innovating to save money. As a City Councilman, I see how unfunded mandates burden our municipalities, schools, and most importantly our taxpayers. Local governments’ hands are too often tied by the state. If we freed up cities and towns to innovate and share services, they could actually reduce property taxes and provide homeowners much needed relief. I want to go to Albany and get these onerous mandates lifted. Part of the reason that we haven’t had effective mandate relief is that my opponent has tried to tie mandate relief to an attack on workers’ rights that’s so radical not a single Republican Senator will support it. We can’t pass mandate relief if it’s being treated like a football by political opportunists and insiders.
5) Why should people vote for you?
We need someone who shares our values and knows how to help make New York the Empire State again. Governor Cuomo has made excellent progress starting us down the right path, but we have a long way to go before we can be fully satisfied with the results. My background as an economic analyst makes me the right person to get our economy moving again. I know the right ways to invest in our future, and I know what it’ll take to create good jobs. As a City Councilman, I understand the role state government plays in driving up local property taxes, and I can use that experience to be an effective partner for towns and school districts. It’s also important to have an Assemblyman who’ll walk the walk on important issues like a woman’s right to choose, pay equity, and Marriage Equality – not just pay lip service to them.