Assemblyman David Buchwald is one of the more unassuming public officials in the area.
He holds few press conferences and limits his photo-ops, yet is quite visible in the communities that he serves, often seen at local events and periodically at board meetings.
Never mistake his understated approach for lack of engagement. In fact, quite the contrary. In his nearly six years in the state Assembly, Buchwald has quietly put together an impressive record of accomplishment in a body where it’s so much easier to stand out for all the wrong reasons.
Perhaps Buchwald’s signature achievement is introducing and getting near unanimous support among lawmakers for his pension forfeiture bill, a measure that strips pensions for state officials convicted of a felony related to their job. Last year, by a more than a 2-1 margin, voters approved amending a portion of the state constitution that puts that plan into action.
Not satisfied that ethics reform is complete, he is now pushing to close the LLC loophole and hopes to bring early voting to New York.
He was tabbed by County Executive George Latimer earlier this year to put together a report of recommendations for Con Edison and NYSEG on preparation and response to severe weather events. Although NYSEG has displayed intransigence, Con Edison has incorporated some of those recommendations.
Buchwald’s professional background as a tax attorney before his 2012 election was helpful to the legislature in crafting a bill to offer relief to property taxpayers who will be hurt by the new federal tax law. The IRS has released regulations to negate the legislation but a coalition has been assembled to fight the agency.
He has delivered for communities that have asked to have legislation passed to institute a hotel tax and worked on a bipartisan basis with state Sen. Terrence Murphy for there to be EpiPens on school buses.
His opponent, Republican John Nuculovic, has run one of the odder campaigns in recent memory. Having gained entry on a major party line in July, he wasn’t seen or heard from until early October, and then canceled two League of Women Voters forums with Buchwald.
It’s a curious way to run for public office. As it turns out, Nuculovic is hardworking and affable with relevant experience in law enforcement and government. He was a corrections officer at Rikers Island, teaches cybersecurity courses and is currently Putnam County’s asset manager. He is also a dedicated volunteer with the Bedford Hills Fire Department and the Westchester County Special Operations Hazmat team, someone with all the credentials needed for public office.
It’s a shame because in his interview he certainly identified many of the issues that need to be addressed. Perhaps he didn’t have the time to wage a credible campaign but we would have liked to hear more about his plans to address infrastructure needs, revitalize downtowns and eliminate unfunded mandates, among other issues.
Despite Nuculovic’s absence on the campaign trail, the district has a strong advocate in Buchwald and we strongly endorse him for a fourth term in the Assembly.