By Rick Pezzullo—
State Assemblyman Tom Abinanti and Westchester County Legislator MaryJane Shimsky touted their government records during a Rivertowns League of Women Voters candidates forum last week.
The forum, held June 8 on Zoom, gave each of the candidates a chance to appeal to voters with a June 28 Democratic primary looming for the 92nd Assembly District seat that Abinanti has held for the last 12 years. Early voting begins on June 18.
The primary is an all-or-nothing proposition for Abinanti to have a shot at reelection since he has no other ballot line to fall back on in November. Shimsky, who is term limited on the Board of Legislators following a 12-year run that ends this year, has secured the Working Families Party line. Republican Carlo Valente of Hawthorne awaits the winner of the Democratic primary.
“To be an effective public official you have to understand the community, you have to be part of the community, you have to know how the system works,” Abinanti said. “I have a record that shows that I am not afraid to stand up and do what is right for my community.”
“Westchester County has come a long way in the 11 years since I have joined it,” Shimsky said. “We’re taking action to fix problems and help people live better. Let’s get things done in Albany. Let’s make a change.”
Prior to being elected to the Assembly in 2010, Abinanti was a Greenburgh Town Councilman and served 10 terms on the county Board of Legislators.
“People are losing faith in government. We have to show people that government can work and democracy can work,” Abinanti said. “I understand people’s needs and the people in the Legislature.”
Shimsky got a taste of state government when she worked as Community Relations Director for former Assemblyman Richard Brodsky from 2007-2010.
“Government officials are not soloists. We must work with other officials in government,” Shimsky said. “I find the big issues of the moment and I work hard.”
In Albany, Abinanti, who said he passed 150 bills as an assemblyman, chairs the Committee on People with Disabilities. “I have made people with disabilities a priority in the State of New York,” he said. “People with disabilities deserve the same opportunities as everyone else.”
In White Plains, Shimsky, who estimated she supported about $2 billion in infrastructure bills, is chair of the Committee on Public Works and Transportation.
“Elected officials exist to solve problems,” Shimsky said. “Everything else is just words.”