The Examiner

Lewisboro GOP Chairwoman to Challenge Harckham in November

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Andrea Rendo announced on Friday that she will be challenging County Legislator and Democratic Majority Leader Peter Harckham in the fall.
Andrea Rendo announced on Friday that she will be challenging County Legislator and Democratic Majority Leader Peter Harckham in the fall.

Andrea Rendo may be running for office for the first time but she’s hardly a political newcomer.

Rendo, the Town of Lewisboro Republican Committee chairwoman, announced on Friday she will oppose three-term Democratic incumbent Peter Harckham in November in the race for the District 2 seat on the Westchester County Board of Legislators.

A criminal defense attorney with a Mount Kisco law practice, Rendo, 45, said she is running because more work needs to be done to make Westchester more affordable for families. In addition to keeping taxes in check, she would like to see the remaining unions agree to contributions toward employee health insurance premiums and increased economic development.

Rendo also pledged to work in a bipartisan effort to achieve compromise, something she said has been lost on her opponent, and try to put an end to the incessant litigation when one side fails to get its way politically.

“I’ve been very, very impressed with all the work Rob Astorino has done in getting Westchester County back on track but I know there’s still a lot of work to do,” Rendo said while surrounded by family and supporters outside her Lexington Avenue law office. “Now, moving forward I can’t tell you I’m going to agree on every position Rob Astorino (takes). It’s not my job. My job is to represent the people who live and work in Westchester County, particularly District 2.”

She chided Harckham for leading the eight Democrats who walked out last year before the budget vote rather than work on a compromise, calling the action “irresponsible.” Rendo pointed to the efforts of Democratic legislators Michael Kaplowitz and Virginia Perez who helped hammer out a budget deal last December as an action she would try to emulate.

“As your legislator if it takes me five minutes, five hours or five days I’m not leaving,” she said. “I feel that it’s my obligation and not an imposition.”

Regarding the settlement with the Department of Housing and Urban Development, she said the Democratic caucus has failed to adequately respond to the federal agency’s veiled threats to try and override local zoning and home rule. Rendo said that she supported the building of additional affordable housing.

Having moved to Westchester 15 years ago, Rendo was a Pound Ridge resident until 2006. She has lived in South Salem since then and has been the head of the Lewisboro Republican Committee since 2009.

Harckham, who was reached Friday afternoon, said he knows Rendo and is expecting a tough campaign. However, he defended the Democrats’ handling of last year’s budget situation, calling Astorino’s spending plan “a bad budget,” which borrows money for operational expenses.

Harckham said he is comfortable with his body of work since arriving on the Board of Legislators in 2008, including fighting for working families and putting the brakes on taxes.

“I think voters will take a look at my record and what I’ve done for the past six years and that’s what I’m going to run on,” he said.

Some of Rendo’s supporters said they’re excited about the prospects of her campaign and thought she would make an excellent legislator.

“She’s very smart, she’s very confident, she’s apparently very good at what she does with her law practice and just getting to know her I know she will have the best interests of Westchester in mind,” said Pound Ridge Republican Chairman Joseph Zaino who will manage Rendo’s campaign. “I feel very good about her winning.”

Lewisboro Deputy Supervisor Peter DeLucia said Rendo is smart, sharp and personable and someone who has a keen sense of what business owners and homeowners are looking for. She will run a strong campaign despite having the disadvantage of running against a three-term incumbent, he said.

“I think Peter has lost touch with that,” he said. “I think she’s a refreshing candidate and I think she’s going to give him a run for his money.”


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