UJA/WJC Annual Government
Relations Legislative Breakfast

 Left to right: Westchester County Executive George Latimer; Congressman Mike Lawler. 

By Stephen E. Lipken


Karen Everett, Chair, UJA Westchester Government Relations Committee, Board Member, Westchester Jewish Council (WJC) and Chair, Interfaith/Intergroup Committee, welcomed the public to the Annual Government Relations Legislative Breakfast on Friday, April 21st at Temple Israel Center, White Plains, noting that NYS Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins advocated adding $2.6 million dollars to Holocaust survivors living in poverty. 


Elected officials attending included Westchester Legislator Nancy Barr; County Legislators Nancy Barr, Ben Boykin; White Plains Common Council President Justin Brasch; Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner; NYS Senators Peter Harkham, Shelley Mayer; Assistant County Executive Ken Jenkins; Assemblyman Steven Otis; Legislator Catherine Parker; Assemblywoman Amy Paulin; White Plains Common Council member Victoria Presser; former County Legislator Marty Rogowsky; Surrogate Brandon Sall; Supreme Court Justice David Everett and District Attorney Mimi Rocah.


Everett then introduced Congressman Mike Lawler.  “I am proud to represent the 17th  Congressional District which has one of the largest Jewish Communities in the country, over 100,000 practicing Jews,” Lawler began. “This year we will celebrate the 75th Anniversary of Israel and am excited that I will be going {in late April} with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who will speak before the Knesset.”  


Lawler added that he introduced a Bi-Partisan Bill with Congressman Ritchie Torres, creating a Special Envoy for Abraham Accords.  “Israel continues to face threats from terrorist organizations.  That is why we are fighting to secure more funding for Iron Dome and other missile defense systems…” 


Latimer acknowledged that anti-Semitism is on the rise, nationally and in Westchester County.


“It is not just swastikas in a boys’ bathroom at a High School.  It is statements that I have seen on line, Facebook pages and pages created to advance these conspiracies that boggle the mind.


“We have to be able to be clarion-call clear about when we see anti-Semitism and call it out for what it is,” Latimer stressed. “We need to make sure that every religion, the Muslim faith, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, and those who have no faith tradition at all, feel at home in America.”