Today we are pleased to present the MyRye.com Q&A with 37th District State Senate candidate Liviu B. Saimovici, MD. He is running against incumbent Shelley Mayer in the November 3rd general election.
Your Name: Liviu B. Saimovici, MD
You are running for what position: New York State Senator, 37th District
Incumbent or challenger: Challenger
Your political party: Republican, and also have the C line
MyRye.com: Why are you running for office?
Saimovici: I was born in Romania, and having escaped from the Communist dictatorship of Nicolae Ceasusecu, I became a naturalized proud American Citizen on Constitution day 1981. I am NOT a professional politician and I am running for office because I felt that I had to. Because, I can no longer stand by and watch the direction our great state is going into: Socialism or a one party dictatorship.
Having grown up under a dictatorship, I am a lot more sensitive than most to the way our Governor and the Legislature are chipping away our liberties and our freedoms.
I am running because:
- I want us to live safely in our home, on our streets, workplaces and of course schools – meaning reverse the no bail law;
- I want the best education for what we hold most dear: our children;
- I want to have a good health care system which is affordable, and one in which no one should go bankrupt from medical bills;
- The pursuit of happiness should be available to everyone, in their ability to work and make a living in their chosen occupation or profession or artistic calling, with equal pay for equal work and without any kind of discrimination, including religious discrimination
MyRye.com: Why are you running for office now?
Saimovici: See above
MyRye.com: You grew up in communist Romania under the dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu and fled at age 22 to Israel. How has this experience influenced your political views?
Saimovici: I spent only 6 months in Israel, where I was discriminated against for being from Romania and not from Russia. My cousin invited me to come here, to South Carolina to finish my studies, and then I decided this is my home.
Because I grew up in a Communist country I am a lot more aware of how our liberties and freedoms are being legislated and regulated away. If not contained, it will lead to what I call a “bureaucratic dictatorship”, where no one takes responsibility for anything and nothing can get done. DMV-style life.
MyRye.com: You live in the Greenhaven section of Rye. When did you move to Rye, and why did you choose this community?
Saimovici: We moved here 10 years ago, we liked and could at that time afford the house, and like the community for being near the Sound and very quiet and amenable to walking and biking. We got to know the neighbors and enjoy them too, and later on found out how right the Rye Neck school District is for our daughter.
MyRye.com: You are the medical director of Advanced Rejuvenation Centers in Purchase, and you have previously been an ophthalmologist focused on laser vision correction. What does your experience in healthcare and in operating your own business bring to your State Senate candidacy?
Saimovici: In addition, I grew up, so to speak, in a hospital. My father was also an ophthalmologist and my mother a pharmacist. I have been exposed and learned different socialized medical systems and none is good, read very bad.
I had a tourist from England as a patient who came to New York seeking care for an eye infection for which she had to wait 3 months to be seen. It turned out she had a Herpes Simplex infection which would have cost her her eye. I can give other examples of why socialized medicine does not work. In NYS they want to pass a form of socialized medicine called single payer. It is the same thing. It will destroy health care, it will cause people to lose their doctors and their insurance, especially those with Union plans and employer health benefits, the wait to see a doctor will be extremely long, and the quality of care will go down due to rationing. Read this book called “How to starve your cancer without starving yourself”. It’s about an English woman’s battle to survive in the National Health Care system the English are so proud of.
MyRye.com: What are three ways a State Senator can bring specific benefits to the City of Rye?
- Increase school funding by lowering Westchester County’s labor coefficient so that we get our fair share of school funding. Currently, Westchester County’s coefficient is far higher than both Long Island and New York City so we receive far less school funding.
- Repeal the “Scaffolding Law”/Labor Law 240 so that it is much easier and cheaper to build and finance infrastructure projects. These laws double the insurance costs of public works projects. No other state in the Union has such a law. It is estimated that building the Tappan Zee Bridge, for example, incurred additional costs of $200-400 million solely due to the existence of this law. Without these added costs, we could be engaging in vastly more infrastructure projects.
- As a physician, make smart decisions to keep our citizens safe without decimating our economy. Make sound public health decisions which allow us to move forward intelligently through this crisis.
(Other areas include) infrastructure building, bring $$ to schools, Reduce regulations, reverse the NO bail and Discovery law, lower taxes
MyRye.com: Whether or not the State is able to help or not, what are the three biggest opportunities / challenges facing the City of Rye over the next 3-5 years?
- Putting a stop to the unfunded mandates from the State level down, which dramatically increase costs on the municipal level. City budgets are almost entirely taken up by undaunted mandated. leaving local governments with very little discretionary income to benefit their residents.
- School/education system—make sure that we receive all of the educational funds we are entitled to.
- Keeping Rye’s downtown and community life growing. As more people leave the city, the opportunities Rye has to continue its trajectory of a bustling, economically vibrant downtown increase both its charm and its draw. Keeping Rye and the community safe and secure.
(Other issues include) budget deficit, Rye Playland decision, too much traffic and not enough opportunity for small businesses, shops in particular, as they have to compete with e-commerce and lack of parking
MyRye.com: Rate from one (absolutely terrible) to ten (absolutely the best) how each of the following officials has handled the response to the global coronavirus pandemic (please place a number between one and ten after each name):
- President Donald Trump – 8;
- NIAID Director Anthony Fauci – 1, actually it should be ZERO;
- New York Governor Andrew Cuomo – 1, criminal action, sending infected with the virus nursing home residents back without testing. We know what happened. He should be charged, and the members of his administration for criminally negligent homicide;
- Westchester County Executive George Latimer – can’t really comment and do not want to be partisan;
- Rye Mayor Joshua Cohn – 8;
- Rye City School District Superintendent Eric Byrne – can’t comment, we are in Rye Neck, not happy with the hybrid system Ferraro implemented a 2.
MyRye.com: One thing you do say about your time in Romania was the educational system was superb. In New York State you say the state formula for allocating money to school districts is “byzantine”. How is it byzantine, how should it work in your view and in the wake of the economic calamity of COVID-19 does the Federal government have a role in providing assistance?
Saimovici: The education system In Romania was very good, if I said superb I will take it back. In NYS we spend $23,000/K-12 student and rank behind Kansas, North and South Dakota, and all the neighboring states, and we rank 22/50 nationally. The US average is $12,000. Florida and California combined spend less. The system for allocating money to school districts is opaque, that is what I meant by byzantine, ripe for politicians to play games, favoritism and corruption.
MyRye.com: In addition to saying our school districts don’t receive enough funding from the State, you also criticize our State infrastructure pointing out it received a C- grade from the American Society of Civil Engineers. How do we address these needs without adding to what you already call a “crushing tax burden put on New Yorkers by our wasteful state and local governments”?
Saimovici: Cut the waste, enforce regulations, hold contractors to higher standards (did you try driving North on I95, around exit 17? It is brand new yet it feels like you are in a boat! Someone is responsible for allowing that!), cut regulations that do not make sense and only add to costs, such as mandatory 40 hours OSHA course to be allowed on a construction site, requiring a shampoo assistant to be certified and in order to do be certified to have 1000 hour of supervised training: to wash hair. Open the State to business through tax incentives and reduced regulations. We are losing both residents and businesses. It is not tenable. MTA is bankrupt.
MyRye.com: Not including Governor Cuomo, who are three current elected or appointed State officials who you admire and why?
Saimovici: prefer not to answer
MyRye.com: How much money have you raised for your campaign through October 2020?
Saimovici: prefer not to answer
MyRye.com: Tell us more about you:
What do you do on a typical Sunday at home?
Saimovici: Read, walk, work out, do things with my family, bike and in the summer swim next door at the RGC.
What’s your favorite family takeout restaurant in or around Rye?
Saimovici: Chat-19, Village Social, Pizza 2000
What is a recent series you enjoyed binge watching on a streaming service?
Saimovici: Chicago PD
Thank you, Liv!
Saimovici: LIVIU it is a Romanian name, of Latin origin Livius
Important links & official bio:
Campaign website: DrLiv4NY.com
BS, Cum Laude from USC in Electrical Engineering and Pre Med, in Columbia, SC
Tau Beta Pi Honor society
MD from MUSC in Charleston, SC
Class vice-president for 2 years
National Officer in the AMA SBS section
Internship at NY Infirmary/Beekman Hospital
Ophthalmology residency At Georgetown University Medical Center, Chief Resident
Member of the Mount Sinai Medical Staff and School of Medicine Faculty
Director of the NY Law Enforcement Foundation
Deputy Chief Police Surgeon for the NY State troopers
Former Member of the Board of the Premium Point Company, in New Rochelle, when we lived there
Member of the Board of several other charitable organizations