The Examiner

GOP Hopeful Enters Assembly Race as Rainey, Smith Get Dem Backing

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Briarcliff Manor resident Stacy Halper will challenge for the 95th Assembly District seat this year on the Republican line. She will face one of four Democrats vying for the party’s nomination, a process that is becoming increasingly contentious.

The race for the 95th Assembly District seat being vacated by longtime incumbent Sandy Galef at the end of the year continues to take shape as the first Republican/Conservative candidate has stepped forward with four Democrats jockeying to get an upper hand.

Stacy Halper, a 29-year Briarcliff Manor resident and retired music teacher, is tossing her hat into the ring for the first time because she feels it’s time for a change.

“I feel that there are many people in my district that disagree with state decisions like vaccine mandates, bail reform laws, (Critical Race Theory) taught in their schools and unconstitutional Second Amendment laws,” Halper stated. “The Legislature, for whatever reason, is ignoring the wants and needs of their constituency. I am running to give people a real voice in their government.”:

“Sandy Galef has occupied this seat for 30 years, admirably. However, I believe people want a change. They see that their roads are falling apart, their businesses are in danger of closing due to unreasonable mandates; they are taxed to the brim without really seeing where their tax money is going,” she continued.

“Parents are losing control over what our children are being taught in schools and they are very concerned. This is a climate where Republicans stand an excellent chance of gaining seats and thereby giving many people a voice in their government. This will be the year; yes, I will win for the people.”

Halper said when she first moved to Briarcliff Manor, Law Park was in need of refurbishing, so she volunteered on the Recreation Advisory Committee and was involved in creating a new pool area that included landscaping, lighting and a new pavilion.

“This showed me that even one person with a goal can make a difference working together with other people to accomplish great things for the community,” she said.

Meanwhile, the four Democrats vying to succeed Galef – Ossining Supervisor Dana Levenberg, Westchester County Legislator Colin Smith (D-Peekskill), former Peekskill Mayor Andre Rainey and former Peekskill Councilman Vanessa Agudelo – participated in a forum before the Peekskill Democratic Committee last Thursday.

Following the forum, district leaders gathered to discuss possibly endorsing a candidate for the June 28 primary that appears to be looming.

Committee members expressed differing opinions.

“Let the people decide,” Linda Weltman argued. “Why should we influence people? It’s wrong to choose one over another.”

However, Marina Ciotti-Hodges countered, “I think it is our duty and our role to make a choice.”

When district leaders were polled, Rainey was the only candidate to receive any votes with 17, but there were also 17 votes for no endorsement. Due to a “weighted” system, no endorsement seemed to prevail.

It was later revealed that a mistake had been made in the calculations and Rainey apparently came out on top, an outcome Committee Chairman Steve Kollias confirmed Monday.

That result is not going unchallenged, though, as a spokesman for Smith said Monday they would be doing “a deep dive” into what transpired and see if any challenge would be warranted.

Smith scored a victory with the Cortlandt Democratic Committee last week, receiving 80 percent of first-place votes. With close to 13,000 registered Democrats, Cortlandt has the highest weighted vote in the Assembly primary race.

“I am both humbled and thrilled to have the support of Supervisor Richard Becker and the entire town council in this race, as well as the Town of Cortlandt Democratic Committee,” Smith said. “Cortlandt is located in the heart of our Assembly district and I have had the pleasure of working with their local elected leadership for several years. Together, we’ve delivered real results for residents, and I look forward to continuing this partnership in Albany.”

The 95th Assembly District includes Briarcliff Manor, Ossining, Cortlandt, Peekskill and part of Yorktown in Westchester and Philipstown in Putnam County.

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