Terrence Murphy – Republican
By Rick Pezzullo
Before being elected two years ago to the State Senate in the 40th District, Terrence Murphy had heard about the problems with state government in Albany, but it wasn’t until he was chosen by voters to succeed Greg Ball and continue the 102- year Republican dominance in the district that he discovered how many changes needed to be made.
“It’s been quite the eye-opening experience,” Murphy said. “In Albany, you have professional politicians. That is a big part of the problem. You have people who have never worked a day in their life setting the table. As a freshman senator you’re supposed to be seen and not heard. I believe I have represented the district well. In two years I think we have done an excellent job.”
Murphy, 50, grew up next to Wilkens Fruit Farm in Yorktown. He decided to study nutrition after graduating from Yorktown High School. He went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and a doctorate of chiropractic from Life University College of Chiropractic. In 1999, he opened the Yorktown Health and Wellness Center on Commerce Street in Yorktown. He has also had a business interest in the family-owned Murphy’s Restaurant in downtown Yorktown.
He was elected to the Yorktown Town Board in 2009 and reelected in 2013. His Senate District serves approximately 325,000 residents in Peekskill, Cortlandt, Somers, Yorktown, Croton-on-Hudson, Buchanan and other municipalities in Westchester, along with parts of Putnam and Dutchess counties.
“It has been an absolute honor and privilege. It’s awesome,” Murphy said of his first term in office. “We do a lot of constituent work, quality of life work that affects people on a daily basis. I will get as much money as I can for the 40th District.”
Murphy stressed he was particularly proud of his efforts in trying to combat the heroin and prescription opioid crisis. The father of three was appointed co-chairman of the Senate’s Task Force Against Heroin & Opioid Addiction. Murphy later introduced a legislative package with a four-prong approach to tackling the problem through prevention, treatment, recovery and enforcement.
“We crafted some of the most comprehensive legislation in the nation. We’ve done some good stuff,” Murphy said. “It is an enormous step forward for New York State. It’s a moving target all the time. The enforcement part is not where I want it to be.”
The son of a Navy veteran of the Korean War, Murphy said he has also achieved a lot for veterans and sponsored legislation to hold elected officials accountable for their actions. His five-point accountability plan calls for term limits (no more than three terms) and pension forfeiture.
Despite claims from his opponent, Alison Boak, that his environmental voting record hasn’t been “consistent,” Murphy said he has been in the forefront of the fight to prevent the U.S. Coast Guard from anchoring barges in the Hudson River, secured $500,000 for meadow restoration at Croton Point Park and partnered with Somers and the Westchester Land Trust to get $1.8 million to preserve Stuart’s Fruit Farm in Granite Springs. He was also endorsed by the New York League of Conservation Voters.
A strong opponent of the Common Core standards, Murphy said he sponsored an “opt out” bill allowing students not to have to take state tests.
“I caught a lot of flak for that, but when you see something that’s wrong you try to fix it,” he said. “We all want high standards for our kids. It’s how we achieve that. It wasn’t about the welfare of our kids and teachers had to teach to the test.”
Responding to criticism from Boak about his family’s restaurant’s tax woes, which escalated to more than $146,000 in arrears before being paid off recently, Murphy explained the eatery fell on tough economic times and a few of his siblings that run it on a daily basis decided it was better to fall behind on paying town and school taxes instead of laying off employees.
“I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth like she was,” Murphy said. “My investment has been the land. I will stand by family. All of our taxes are paid. End ofstory.”
Alison Boak – Democrat
By David Propper
The centerpiece of Alison Boak’s campaign and her motivating factor to run for the State Senate seat in the 40th district is getting the widespread corruption out of state government.
Even when Boak, 46, did an internship in the State Senate in college, she could recall there were ongoing scandals back then, a trend that has continued today. In order to stop that, Boak offers a package of ethics reforms. She’s calling for an overhaul of the structure currently in state government.
“That’s what inspired me to run,” Boak said, bashing opponent Terrence Murphy (R/Yorktown) for what she believes is his lack of ethics.
Boak, a Democrat, doesn’t think convicted corrupted state lawmakers should keep their pensions and feels so strongly about that she wants that to be the State Senate’s first vote. Boak signed the “Clear Conscience Pledge” that means the role of state senator would be her only job. The LCC loophole should be closed and there should be further transparency with how the senate spends the money it brings back to districts, she added.
State lawmakers should be term limited, Boak said. She would like to see terms extended to four years and lawmakers only allowed two terms. Additionally, she thinks elections should be staggered so not every state lawmaker runs the same time.
Boak also would like to see campaign finance reform, but didn’t have a specific plan. She’s like to explore other states’ reforms and see what sort of success they’ve had.
Environmentally, Boak wants to get to the energy goal set by Governor Andrew Cuomo in which 50 percent of energy in the state is renewable by 2030. There could be an economic boom as a result, she added. Boak is in favor of closing Indian Point because it’s aging, there’s a gas pipeline running near it, and there isn’t a proper evacuation plan in place in case of an emergency.
Boak noted while Murphy is against more barges on the Hudson River, he voted to decrease licensing fees for anyone that transports oil in New York, resulting in a smaller spill fund.
Discussing education, Boak wants to see less reliance on standardize testing and more of an emphasis on technology so students are ready for college and careers. She doesn’t believe Hudson Valley schools have gotten their fair share of state education aid.
Boak would like to explore creative ways to give seniors tax breaks so they can remain in the towns they’ve lived for a good portion of their lives and mentioned putting in place affordable housing for seniors and young adults. If the state paid its fair share of Medicaid, it would also offset some local property taxes, she noted.
Boak supports the two percent tax cap, but wants to see more wiggle room for capital projects for municipalities.
“You got to find a way to strike that balance with the tax cap,” she said.
On the Pound Ridge town board for four years, Boak said she had a hand in helping the business district revitalize and was able to bring in some grants the helped that cause. Boak also pushed for more transparency, helping get board meetings videotaped and placed on the town website. Finally, she brought awareness to waste water (a problem in Pound Ridge) by starting a task force on it.
Boak wants to reduce regulations around small businesses and would like to streamline the process working with municipalities in order to cut some red tape. She’d also like the state to encourage minority and women owned businesses
Boak did compliment Murphy on his fight against the heroin epidemic, but noted it is a bipartisan issue that is easy to get behind. She would like to see evidence based programs that would work better to deter youths from using drugs and wants to extend drug treatment courts and fill in gaps in treatment for those suffering from addiction.
One of Boak’s most personal fights she said would be eliminating the statute of limitations for sex crimes of minors, instead of the current five-year limitation. As the founder of an organization that helps human trafficking victims, Boak said it takes a person an average of 21 years to come forward about past abuse.
“We don’t have statute of limitations in murder cases, we don’t have statute of limitations on adult rape cases,” Boak said. “Children is our most vulnerable group, if anyone you want to protect it’s our children.”