MOUNT VERNON, NY -- The leader of the 5,000-member Grace Baptist Church in Mount Vernon, former 19-year Democratic State Assemblyman Ronald Tocci (D-New Rochelle), and prominent Westchester Jewish community leaders Martine Fleishman and Nancy Zaro today joined with Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino in announcing the launch of "Democrats for Astorino," a committee of Westchester Democrats working to re-elect Mr. Astorino in November.
Mr. Astorino has managed County government diligently, allowing him to increase social service spending for those most in need while freezing or reducing the tax levy every year he has served as County Executive. In 2009, Mr. Astorino ran on a platform of bringing smart, streamlined and compassionate government back to Westchester, and he has delivered on it, the group said. Mr. Astorino also developed a bipartisan coalition of reform Democrats and Republicans in the County Board of Legislators to secure Westchester's social safety net without breaking the bank.
"I am a lifelong Democrat and a committed community leader and I'm backing Rob Astorino because he has been accessible and supportive of our community," Dr. Richardson said. "Rob's concern and commitment to economic development and economic empowerment of people in our community is the main reason why I'm supporting him for reelection. I'm urging everyone who cares about the future of Westchester, regardless of political party, to get behind County Executive Astorino in November."
"Rob Astorino has demonstrated a sincere concern for the overburdened taxpayer," Assemblyman Tocci said. "He has shown a passionate commitment to our veterans, and I'm proud to help lead his team of independent Democrats to ensure his victory this November."
"Rob Astorino has brought smart government back to Westchester. He has a common sense approach, works in a bipartisan manner, and gets results," Ms. Fleishman said. "Even while reducing overall county spending, Rob has actually increased spending on the social services budget to protect the most vulnerable among us. This illustrates Rob's compassionate leadership, and it is for this reason and many others that I am proud to work to re-elect him this November and keep Westchester moving in the right direction. And we all know Rob is a great friend of the Jewish community. Thank you Rob!"
"I'm proud to help lead Democrats for Astorino because Rob is a champion for Westchester, and he is defending our towns against Washington overreach, " Ms. Zaro said. "Also, Rob is a trusted friend of Israel as well as his strong and steadfast support for the Jewish community."
"The first thing I said after winning election four years ago was that I would represent Democrats, Republicans, and independents alike in this county, and that's what I've worked hard to do every day that I've been privileged to lead it," County Executive Astorino said. "It is especially gratifying, then, to see and hear from so many Democrats and independents who are supporting my candidacy four years later. Rev. Richardson, Assemblyman Tocci, Ms. Fleishman and Ms. Zaro will be heading this coalition, and I could not be more honored or grateful to have Westchester leaders of their quality on my team. We are all in this together; we all want a healthy and economically vibrant county that we can afford to live and raise families in."
W. Franklyn Richardson--W. Franklyn Richardson has been Senior Pastor at the historic Grace Baptist Church in Mount Vernon since 1975, and he is a nationally-recognized leader for social justice. Under his leadership, the congregation has grown to include more than 4,000 members. A graduate of Virginia Union University, Dr. Richardson received his Divinity degree from Yale University Divinity School and his Doctorate of Ministry as a Wyatt Tee Walker Fellow from the United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. Dr. Richardson is, among many other things, a distinguished member of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Board of Preachers at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. A longtime community builder and organizer, Dr. Richardson has played a pivotal role in fighting for equitable opportunities in public education in the Mount Vernon community and he has manned the front lines in the battle for just and affordable housing development. His steadfast efforts have resulted in two Grace Church related Community Development Corporations which have constructed more than 100 million dollars in affordable housing to date.
Hon. Ronald C. Tocci -- A lifelong resident of Westchester County, Tocci served from 1966-1968 as a paratrooper for the U.S. Army in the 82nd Airborne Division. After an honorable discharge, his passion for serving his country and fellow soldiers led him to a career in public service. He served as Democratic member of the Westchester County Board of Legislators for four consecutive terms and served in the New York State Assembly from 1984-2004. Assemblyman Tocci is widely known for spearheading policy changes that address veterans concerns, as well as legislation combating alcohol and substance abuse in the community. His dedication to veterans' affairs and to the community earned him the National Distinguished Service Medal presented by the New York State Department - American Legion. From 2004-2007, Mr. Tocci served as Commissioner for Veterans Affairs for New York State.
Martine Fleishman -- Martine Fleishman immigrated to the US in 1986 from Johannesburg, South Africa, where she earned a BA in languages before moving to Westchester. With a graduate certificate in Non-Profit Management and Leadership, Martine has dedicated her career to the Jewish community, Israel, and social justice.A Wexner graduate, Martine has served as president of the UJA Federation's Women's Philanthropy; as a cabinet member of the Commission on Jewish Identity and Renewal, the COJP and Network Commissions of UJA Federation of New York; as board member of Westchester Jewish Community Services; and as co-chair of the UJA Federation's Rosenwald 90th Anniversary Mission to Israel.She currently is President of Hillels of Westchester; an active member of the National Board of Governors of the American Jewish Committee (and a board member of its Westchester chapter); board member of the Solomon Schechter School of Westchester and the Jewish Education Project. She is also an active participant of the Taglit-Birthright Westchester council.Martine was a recipient of UJC's Jesselson Young Leadership Award and the Kipnis-Wilson/Friedland Lion of Judah Award. A naturalized US citizen, Nancy and her family have lived in Harrison since 1988.
Nancy Zaro--Nancy Zaro has been a Westchester resident for 29 years. Until April 2013, she was associate executive director of Westchester Jewish Council, a community relations council for Westchester. Nancy has been actively involved in the Jewish community both professionally and as a volunteer throughout her adult life. Nancy and her husband Joseph live in Harrison.