GovernmentThe Northern Westchester Examiner

Levenberg, Rainey Toss Hats in Ring to Succeed Galef in Assembly

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No sooner did Assemblywoman Sandy Galef announce she would be retiring at the end of 2022 after 30 years in Albany did two familiar faces in local government toss their hats in the ring as possible successors.

Former Peekskill Mayor Andre Rainey, who just wrapped up a four-year stint leading the city, was the first to unveil his intentions to try to represent the 95th Assembly District, which includes Peekskill, Cortlandt, Ossining, Philipstown and Kent.

Another Democrat, Ossining Town Supervisor Dana Levenberg, also stepped forward to announce her candidacy Monday.

Rainey expressed appreciation for Galef’s accomplishments and her efforts on behalf of the communities in her district.

“As we move forward, we need to ensure this district has a representative in Albany with a proven track record of delivering for the people they represent: fighting for our youth and ensuring our public schools are appropriately funded for the long-term; ensuring residents can afford to continue living here by investing in affordable housing for working families and our seniors, keeping property taxes low for homeowners, and ensuring we have strong rent regulations that protect tenants,” Rainey said. “At the same time, New York State must move forward leading the country in advancing a climate agenda that secures the future of our state and our children.”

Levenberg served as Galef’s communications director and then chief of staff prior to being elected town supervisor in 2015, working for the assemblywoman for nearly eight years. She served on the Ossining Board of Education for nine years.

Levenberg also expressed her gratitude toward Galef for mentoring her and inspiring her to be a dedicated public servant.

“I believe this record positions me well to strongly represent not just Ossining but all the municipalities from Briarcliff to Philipstown and everything in between – and beyond,” said Levenberg, acknowledging the current uncertainty around the final district lines. “My experience will enable me to hit the ground running on day one.”

Rainey was elected to the Common Council in 2015, at the time making him the youngest person to ever be elected in Peekskill. Two years later, he ran for mayor, defeating incumbent Republican Frank Catalina, despite being substantially outspent in the race, to become the city’s youngest mayor. He went on to win re-election two years later against former Republican Councilman Vincent Vesce Jr. by one of the widest margins in Peekskill history.

Rainey decided against re-election last year and supported the candidacy of Peekskill’s first African American female mayor, Vivian McKenzie.

“Andre Rainey is the future of the Democratic Party,” said Peekskill Democratic Chairwoman Drew Claxton. “He is a dynamic, accomplished, positive force in this region, who has actually gotten results. I cannot think of a more qualified and more positive addition to the New York State Assembly than Andre Rainey.”

As mayor, Rainey said he worked successfully with community, business and youth advocacy leaders to secure $10 million in New York State Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant money, secured substantial financial support from the public and private sectors to bring the Boys & Girls Club to Peekskill and oversaw the largest investment in affordable housing in northern Westchester in decades.

Levenberg received praise from Ossining Town Democratic Committee Chairwoman Thomasina Laidley-Brown.

“Dana understands state government, local government and school districts from the inside,” Laidley-Brown said. “She tackles every issue with determination and intelligence. Dana’s proven success will make her an effective assemblywoman who cares about the people she serves.”

Levenberg said she would focus on climate change and resiliency, ensuring every child receives a quality education, guaranteeing affordable housing, as well as equitable access to needed resources such as health care and nutritious food. “Throughout my career in public service, I have worked hard to advance these critical issues,” she said. “I look forward to building upon my accomplishments in our community and continuing this great work on behalf of the entire district in Albany.”

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