By Stephen E. Lipken
A standing room only, wildly cheering crowd of approximately 640 people between the Westchester Community College Hankin Academics Art Theater and overflow room witnessed the public swearing in of Westchester County Executive George Latimer on Sunday, January 7th.
Appearing on the dais with Latimer were Westchester County District Attorney Anthony Scarpino; Congressman Eliot Engel; New York State (NYS) Attorney General Eric Schneiderman; Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins; Congresswoman Nita Lowey who emceed the event; NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo who administered the Oath of Office to Latimer and County Clerk Timothy Idoni.
Perhaps in line with Latimer’s January 2 Executive Order banning guns shows in Westchester County Center, the group, “Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America,” Westchester Chapter, resplendent in crimson jerseys was seen in the audience.
“George Latimer is a grown-up, when America is crying out for grown-up leadership,” Schneiderman averred. “George is the embodiment of the pragmatic progressive. He has said that evidence outweighs ideology and has worked to make County government more transparent, setting up the Westchester County Human Rights Commission and TV broadcasts of Board of Legislators meetings.”
“Bob Dylan once said, ‘The times, they are a-changin,’” Engel observed. “This country is in a crisis...We cannot allow the Trump administration to destroy what we have built in 200 years and allow this President to get to the core of our democracy and try to destroy it.”
“I appreciate your support and will not have a blank check to do whatever I wish but rather a promissory note…” Latimer stated. “In a small plane I once flew over Westchester County…Jurisdictions and towns were invisible from the air.
“Perhaps this is how G-d sees us…We are on this patch of land together; the strong, weak, skinny or fat, wise or foolish…We want to treat people with the respect that they deserve.
“We have serious issues ahead of us…if you follow the tenor of my speech we can deal with these issues and have respect and cooperation across all ideologies without looking to shut anybody out of having a voice... We have a tough agenda ahead and I look forward to working on it,” Latimer concluded.
The Democrats tapped Yonkers Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer to run to succeed Latimer as State Senator for the 37th District. Governor Cuomo has to announce when a special election will be held for Latimer’s former New York Senate seat.