WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – Ken Jenkins, chairman of the Westchester County Board of Legislators, made it official Wednesday: He's running for the post of Westchester County Executive.
The Yonkers Democrat was joined at the Crowne Plaza in White Plains by fellow elected officials, family and a crowd of supporters that chanted his name and waved signs reading “Ken Jenkins for Westchester.”
State Assembly member J. Gary Pretlow got the crowd going, saying Jenkins is the right man to lead the county going forward.
“This county has gone through a regression in recent years,” Pretlow said. “Jenkins is about progression. He’s fought the good fight, and he will do a fine job as our next county executive.”
State Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins said Jenkins' candidacy offers a chance for a new beginning.
“This is a new year, and we’re being presented with new opportunities,” she said. “This is why we’re here, for new leadership. Jenkins is always about making sure the voices that have been silenced are heard by everyone.”
Jenkins said he has seen the county degrade in recent years, with taxes and fees continuing to rise while citizens suffer the consequences of the current leadership.
“Your property taxes have continued to rise, your fees for county services have gone up while your quality of life has gone down,” he said. “Our county government is not doing more with less, it is doing less with less and shifting the burden to you in other ways.”
During his time in the legislature, Jenkins said, progressive health care contributions have been enacted and millions of tax dollars have been saved by refusing to outsource many county functions. He also led the court fight to keep parental share of childcare at 20 percent last year.
Jenkins said he cares more about the citizens of the county than about being politically popular.
“True to my values, I will stand right by myself than wrong in the crowd,” he said.
Jenkins' announcement brings to three the number of Democrats in the county executive race, with White Plains Legislator Bill Ryan and New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson trying to unseat Republican Rob Astorino.
“I see a Westchester where we will once again be the standard against which other county governments are measured,” Jenkins concluded. “I see a Westchester where our services will once again be nationally recognized and held up as examples to emulate.”
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