The Examiner

Unopposed in November, Abinanti Gears Up for Second Term

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Assemblyman Thomas Abinanti

As the campaigns for state office heat up this month–and in some cases turn ugly–one assemblyman can rest easy.

Thomas Abinanti (D-Pleasantville), a former 19-year county legislator and Greenburgh town councilman who was elected to the state legislature in 2010, is running unopposed in his bid for a second term to represent the 92nd Assembly District. County Republicans have decided to focus on other state races in the area, particularly in a presidential election year.

“I don’t have to worry about campaign literature or issuing press releases,” Abinanti said. “I will be able to work uninterrupted. I am doing my job and that’s what matters.”

In his first term, Abinanti said he has taken positions that have seen him stand up to the establishment, including voting against the 2 percent tax cap and lobbying against the Department of Transportation’s plan to build a traffic monitoring tower in Pleasantville. The DOT later dropped its plan.

“Even though I have a Democratic governor and a Democratic administration, I do what’s right for the community,” he said.

Abinanti also helped push through legislation that granted an exemption to allow the Town of Greenburgh to lease a portion of a town park to build a tennis bubble. Town officials have said the facility would bring in significant revenue.

The assemblyman was against the MTA payroll tax and is advocating for a mass transit plan for the new Tappan Zee Bridge.

One advantage of running unopposed is that Abinanti can attend community events and functions without people thinking he is simply trolling for votes.

“I want to see what’s going on,” said Abinanti who moved to Pleasantville shortly after his 2010 election and has become more familiar with the village and the Town of Mount Pleasant. “I am very actively involved, I go to a lot of events. It makes it easier to go to these things.”

Westchester Republican Chairman Doug Colety said the GOP intends to run a candidate against Abinanti in 2014.

“It will be a top priority,” Colety said. “There’s only so many places that we have the resources to deal with. It’s a difficult district. The registration disadvantage is higher than in other districts. We would need to put a large amount of resources (into the race). We didn’t want to spread ourselves too thin.”

For his next term, Abinanti said he is concerned about bringing jobs to New York, keeping school taxes low, creating greater access for people with disabilities and preventing hydraulic fracturing in New York.

When it comes to school taxes, Abinanti said upstate residents have it worse than those in Westchester.

“Westchester has among the highest resources,” Abinanti said. “Upstate has a decimated economy and high taxes. Upstate residents bear more of a significant tax burden.”

Abinanti said many of the state mandates are a waste that would be addressed by the school districts.

“Pleasantville has excellent programs that could be done more efficiently if they didn’t have to conform to state mandates,” Abinanti said. “I have confidence that a place like Pleasantville will do the right thing. Most school districts will do the right thing without mandates.”

On hydraulic fracturing, drilling for natural gas won’t be the answer for upstate communities’ economic woes, he said.

“It will end up destroying communities upstate,” Abinanti said. “There is a very significant risk of destroying our water resources. Anything that brings jobs captures people’s imagination. These are not permanent jobs. Just because jobs will be created does not mean it’s a good idea.”

Abinanti supports campaign finance reform, with too many candidates beholden to special interests. Campaigns have also become personal, rather about issues.

“Why would anyone want to get into politics?” Abinanti said.






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