Assemblyman Abinanti Touts Record as Shimsky Announces Plans to Seek Dem Backing
By Rick Pezzullo—
State Assemblyman Tom Abinanti maintained it takes a certain “expertise” to accomplish what he has during his 11 years in Albany and previous 20 years on the Westchester County Board of Legislators representing the towns of Greenburgh and Mount Pleasant and the villages that lie within those municipalities.
“I have not just the experience but the expertise in the legislative process and substantive issues to get things for the residents of Greenburgh and Mount Pleasant,” Abinanti said this week. “I’ve had the courage to stand up for what is right. I’m basically going to run on my record of getting things done for Greenburgh and Mount Pleasant.”
Abinanti, who noted he has had 77 of his bills pass in both the Assembly and Senate and 58 that have become law, touted his record in response to the recent announcement from Westchester County Legislator MaryJane Shimsky that she plans to seek the Democratic nomination for Abinanti’s 92nd Assembly District seat in 2022.
“I’ve had the opportunity to communicate with many of you about the issues that concern our county and our world—both in my decade as County Legislator and, before that, as our late Assemblyman Richard Brodsky’s community relations director. We’ve worked together to advocate for our community and our values, and we’ve accomplished tremendous results,” Shimsky stated. “I am running to be the champion our communities need, so we can move forward and thrive. I am running because I will listen to experts and to our community, follow science, evidence, and the facts — as well as our progressive values — and work collaboratively on real solutions.”
Shimsky, who is the current Majority Leader on the Board of Legislators, has held Abinanti’s former position since 2011 but is term limited after her upcoming term, which she secured running unopposed.
A resident of Dobbs Ferry, Shimsky has focused on infrastructure, environmental and public health issues as a legislator. She is perhaps best known for her persistence in advocating for the reconstruction of the Ashford Avenue Bridge, the second-largest bridge construction project in Westchester County history.
She has also served on the New York State task force to study mass transit options for the Mario Cuomo Bridge, and she worked with her colleagues in the State legislature to improve traffic safety in her district, especially along the Saw Mill River Road, Lawrence Street, and Jackson Avenue corridors.
Shimsky is a Yale University graduate and earned her law degree from New York University School of Law. She worked for four years as an Assistant District Attorney in the Appeals Bureau of the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.
Abinanti, who resides in Pleasantville, also received his law degree from New York University School of Law. Prior to becoming an elected official, he was legislative counsel to a congressman and staff counsel to the Speaker of the New York State Assembly and various Assembly committees. He also served as a prosecuting attorney for the villages of Ardsley and Dobbs Ferry.
Abinanti said he hasn’t “given much thought” to Shimsky’s announcement, stressing he was too busy working to get his bills signed by the governor, which have totaled 13 so far in 2021.
“I understand she is term limited and wants to stay in government. I don’t see that as a reason to challenge me,” remarked Abinanti, who prevailed in a party primary challenge in 2020. “I have demonstrated that I can get things done. If you want to do a job, you have to do it right. The process requires time. There are a lot of members that pass one-house bills. There is an art in passing legislation.”
The father of a grown son with autism, Abinanti is the first chairman of a Committee on People with Disabilities. He stressed he is in tune with the needs of residents in his district, noting he obtained “millions of dollars for his constituents,” such as $500,000 for sidewalks in Greenburgh, funding for sidewalks in Dobbs Ferry and $350,000 for a fire boat in Tarrytown.
“We’ve taken the time to be responsive to the community’s needs,” he said. “I have special expertise in these unprecedented times. We’ve gotten a lot done and we have a lot more to get done.”