After some unexpected twists and turns in the election cycle, it looks like there are some decisions.
Rye City Council
“We are thrilled with the results of last night’s election. We look forward to working with our fellow council members and continuing to serve the people of Rye,” said Josh Nathan (D – incumbent) and Jamie Jensen (D – challenger) in a statement Wednesday afternoon.
After Lori Fontanes effectively dropped out (while remaining on the ticket) after announcing she is moving top Paris, France in 2024, Nathan and Jensen formed what sometimes felt like a fusion ticket with Keith Cunningham (R – incumbent). The three all spoke about the need for civility at the Council in the wake of recent acrimony over the tree ordinance and the ethics board. Cunningham also declared his victory Wednesday afternoon.
“I look forward top serving the residents of Rye,” Cunningham told MyRye.com. “I’m convinced the challenges we face as a community can be solved if we listen and trust each other and keep the interests of Rye as our focus.”
Nathan, Jensen and Cunningham seemed to pull even tighter together a few weeks ago when existing Council member Carolina Johnson, who was not running, declared a write-in campaign and support was quickly offered from Mayor Josh Cohn and Councilmember Julie Souza. In fact, the local Rye GOP and Dems came together Tuesday evening, with the Dems leaving their election night party at the home of local Dem boss Danielle Tagger Epstein to join the GOP group at Ruby’s on Purchase Street.
Johnson told MyRye.com on Wednesday she offered her congratulations to Nathan, Jensen and Cunningham. She said she was pleased with her achievements on the Council, mentioning the tree ordinance, steep slopes, flag lots and flood work.
“I was positive and just highlighting my record not putting anyone down,” said Johnson. “Because anybody who raises their hand to volunteer to serve the city should be at least respected.”
“Some of the behavior on the campaign and the media was really detrimental to the community because I think we’re gonna have a little bit of a harder time finding people to volunteer if all they want to do is rip you apart.”
While all the results are not official until certified by the Board of Elections, Johnson said she believed she got close to 15% of the vote as a write-in candidate.
“I am absolutely humbled and honored to have received so many votes even though I could not campaign per New York State guidance,” said Paris-bound Fontanes. “Please know that I will continue to serve this community that I love so much, through my complete term and as long as I here. I wish the new Council the very best.”
A Busy Next Seven Weeks
The new Council will be formed on January 1st. Between now and then, there are many hot issues that will be tackled including the budget, the discussion of a turf field at Nursery Field and membership fees at the Rye Golf Club. With Mayor Cohn’s “Gang of Four” voting block changing with the departure of Carolina Johnson at the end of the year, it is worth watching which issues Cohn works hardest to advance before the musical chairs on January 1st.
It’s Parker Again for Westchester County Legislator
On the County level, Catherine Parker (D – incumbent) soundly defeated a challenge from Katie Manger (R – challenger) and will continue service as the Westchester County Legislator for District 7. Prior to County service, Parker was a local business owner and city council member. She has also mounted two runs for Congress.
“I am humbled and honored by the outpouring of support for my reelection,” Parker said Tuesday. “I look forward to working for all Rye residents in the new term. I congratulate Ms. Manger for running a good race.”
Please see our earlier reporting as well:
Correction: the original articled had references to Tuesday that should have said Wednesday.