Race Heats Up to Replace Longtime Assemblywoman Sandy Galef

Longtime state Assemblywoman Sandy Galef’s departure when her term ends Dec. 31 has set in motion a faceoff among Democrats seeking to run for the seat in November. 

Galef, a Democrat who has served in Albany since 1993, announced in early January that she would retire at the end of 2022. The 95th District she serves includes Briarcliff, Ossining, Cortlandt, Peekskill, Phillipstown, and Kent. 

“During these past 29 years, we have worked together on finding solutions to many community problems, creating effective and important state legislation, and helped so many individuals and families with personal issues and needs,” Galef said in a statement. “Each day presented a new challenge for me and those talented individuals that worked in my office over these many years.” 

Three Democrat

Dana Levenberg

s announced their candidacies in statements sent to River Journal. At press time representatives from the Westchester County Democratic and Republican parties had not responded to messages about other potential candidates or when the parties would make nominations. 

Dana Levenberg spent nearly eight years working in Galef’s office, serving as communications director and chief of staff prior to becoming Ossining supervisor in January 2016. She won re-election last November. 

Levenberg previously served on the Ossining School Board. She is a founding member of the Ossining Micro Fund and Ossining for Refugees; and serves on the boards of Sustainable Westchester, the Westchester Municipal Planning Federation, the Westchester Municipal Officials Association, Historic Hudson River Towns, and Sing Sing Prison Museum. 

“The most important issues facing us today are climate change and resiliency, ensuring every child receives the quality education they need and deserve, even during a pandemic, and guaranteeing affordable housing, as well as equitable access to needed resources such as healthcare and nutritious food,” Levenberg stated in her campaign announcement. “Throughout my career in public service, I have worked hard to advance these critical issues. I look forward to building upon my accomplishments in our community, and continuing this great work on behalf of the entire district in Albany.” 

Andre Rainey

Andre Rainey, who served two terms as Peekskill’s mayor, touted his efforts to obtain $10 million in state downtown revitalization Initiative grant money; to secure financial support for a new Boys & Girls Club in northwest Westchester, and in overseeing investment in affordable housing. 

He was elected to the Peekskill City Council in 2015, and two years later, won election as the city’s mayor. He decided not to seek reelection last year and supported the candidacy of Peekskill’s first African American female mayor, Vivian McKenzie. 

In his announcement, Rainey stated: “As we move forward, we need to ensure this district has a representative in Albany with a proven track record of delivering for the people they represent: fighting for our youth and ensuring our public schools are appropriately funded for the long-term; ensuring residents can afford to continue living here by investing in affordable housing for working families and our seniors, keeping property taxes low for homeowners, and ensuring we have strong rent regulations that protect tenants.”
 

Colin Smith Press Conference Announcement. Photo: Alex Acaro Sabina

Colin Smith was re-elected to the Westchester County Board of Legislators in November, representing parts of Cortlandt, Peekskill, and Yorktown. He chairs the legislation committee and formerly chaired the public safety committee. Smith previously served on the Peekskill Board of Education and later the Peekskill Common Council. 

Smith touted his work on the countywide Police Reform and Reimagining Task Force, and his record on decreasing taxes, addressing the county’s housing and eviction crisis, and ensuring the safe decommissioning of the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant. 

 “I am proud of my record of delivering real results for the people of Westchester County — focusing on policy while avoiding partisan fights and grandstanding,” he stated in a campaign announcement. “We have made real progress in the County Legislature by focusing on the things that unite us and the issues that matter most. I will bring this results-driven approach to Albany and the State Assembly for the good of Westchester and Putnam Counties.” 

The Democrats could face off in a June 28 primary to decide who holds the party line in the Nov. 8 general election. Assembly members serve two years and are paid $110,000. 

 

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