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Arena Announces Another Run for State Senate Against Harckham

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Gina Arena announced her candidacy Friday for the 40th state Senate District in 2024 while joined by Rep. Mike Lawler and Assemblyman Matt Slater and other supporters.

Surrounded by friends, family and various Republican officials, Somers resident Gina Arena announced Friday that she will be running for the 40th state Senate District next year.

Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.” was playing as Rep. Mike Lawler (R-Pearl River) and Assemblyman Matt Slater (R-Yorktown) and other supporters joined Arena in front of Somers Town Hall for the campaign launch.

Arena will likely run against Sen. Peter Harckham (D-Lewisboro), who defeated her for the same seat last fall. Although last year she won in the Putnam County portion of the district by more than 7,000 votes and by nearly 1,800 votes in Stony Point, the tiny slice of Rockland County that is now part of the district, she was overwhelmed by the large disparity of Democratic voters in Westchester, losing to Harckham by nearly 17,000 votes (51,756-34,907).

“In an incredible grassroots campaign last year in a district that Biden won by 16 points, we took the fight to Peter Harckham,” Arena told her supporters. “We came up just short of victory and put a scare into the Democrats.”

Arena said her chances of victory are improved compared to last year.

“I believe we have the power to win the seat and flip the state Senate,” she said.

Arena blamed Harckham and the Democratic majority in Albany for what she argued was the state’s numerous problems.

“It’s clear that the one-party control of our state is not working,” she said. “The affordability crisis along with public safety remain New Yorkers’ top concerns. Peter Harckham and the radical left Senate has done nothing to address these issues.”

Arena, a third-generation Westchester resident and a parent of eight children, lambasted Harckham for supporting what she called “unrealistic and heavy-handed housing mandates on our local municipalities.”

“And on a personal note,” Arena said, “we want a senator who won’t ban our gas stoves,” referencing the state’s new law that will prohibit the use of gas stoves and heaters in new homes and businesses by 2026.

In responding to Arena’s announcement, Harckham cited his many accomplishments since arriving in the Senate in 2019.

“I’ve ensured record increases in state education aid to lift students up and reduce the burden on local taxpayers,” said Harckham, who has not officially announced his candidacy but is seen as likely to run again. “Additionally, the unanimous passages of (the) bill in the Senate to protect the Hudson River reflects my ability to bring people together and make a difference for all residents. Right now, I will continue to focus on the important challenges our communities are facing.”

Lawler said Arena’s just-launched campaign shows promise.

“In 2022 we had tremendous victories here in the Hudson Valley,” Lawler said. “Gina has long invested in her community; she has compassion and is committed to passing legislation that will impact the lives of hardworking families here in the Hudson Valley.”

Slater was equally supportive and cited the need to flip the state Senate from a Democratic to a Republican majority.

“New York is heading in the absolute wrong direction by raising taxes, coming after businesses,” Slater said. “Democrats are making you pay for their mistakes. We need a new leader like Gina Arena.”

Arena indicated that throwing her hat in the ring 17 months before the election wasn’t influenced by Donald Trump’s early announcement to run for the Republican nomination for president.

“I really haven’t paid attention to the Trump campaign,” she said. “I’m focused more on the day-to-day issues.”

Tanner McCracken, a Mahopac Board of Education trustee who kicked off the event by introducing the speakers, added that Arena’s election would be “all about fresh leadership for New York State.”

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