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Westchester Residents, Officials, Weigh In On Astorino's Run For Governor

John Perillo was mayor of the Village of Ossining from 2000 to 2004.
John Perillo was mayor of the Village of Ossining from 2000 to 2004. Photo Credit: Brian Donnelly

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – Some Westchester residents reacted favorably to the news Wednesday that County Executive Rob Astorino will run for New York State Governor in the fall.

John Perillo, former mayor of the Village of Ossining, said Wednesday that Astorino has been the right fit for Democrat-heavy Westchester during the last four years, and that he is the right fit for New York State governor.

“I’m glad,” Perillo said of Astorino’s announcement. “I think he’s got a lot of potential to reform what’s going on upstate and with the economy.”

As an area business owner for 46 years, Perillo said the business climate is poor across New York, and especially upstate.  He added that Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s initiatives to get the economy going haven’t turned the tide. Astorino said in his video announcement that more than 400,000 people have left the state since Cuomo took office.

“It’s pretty clear that New York has the highest negative population growth in the country,” said Jim Maisano, vice chair of the Westchester County Board of Legislators (BOL). “I think New York is crying out for dramatic change. I would hope that if Rob became governor he would lead a renaissance of job creation.”

In a Daily Voice poll in January, 60 percent of the nearly 400 respondents said Astorino should run for governor.

County Legislator Peter Harckham (D – North Salem) said taxes have been cut, unemployment has been cut in half, and New York is moving in the right direction under Cuomo. His colleague and BOL Majority Leader Catherine Borgia said she sees Cuomo winning reelection.

“I think that Gov. Cuomo is a very confident governor and has done a good job, and I think that Astorino doesn’t have the skills and expertise that our governor has,” she said.

While county legislators fell on party lines Wednesday, Perillo said the upcoming race will be about the issues and survival for local businesses more than party affiliation. Several Westchester residents who are registered Democrats said Wednesday that they would vote for Astorino.

Gustavo Espinal, a Tarrytown resident who works at Greeley Barber Shop in Chappaqua, said he likes Astorino because “he’s a straight up guy.”

On the other hand, Diane Vallienberg, of Chappaqua, said she supports Cuomo because she liked his response during Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

Even those who said they would support Astorino in a matchup with Cuomo admitted that it will be an uphill climb because he has less name recognition and less money than the incumbent.