With the Democrat's 12-5 veto-proof majority hanging in the balance, all eyes are already on Westchester County's 9th District. Democratic Town of Ossining Supervisor Catherine Borgia is set to battle with Republican Susan Konig for retiring Democrat Bill Burton's seat. Konig lost to Burton by a dozen votes last election.
Patch spoke with both Konig and Borgia about their aspirations to fill Burton's seat. Today we are bringing you our interview with Susan Konig. On Monday our coverage will continue when we bring you our interview with Catherine Borgia.
Susan Konig says the biggest problem facing the county is our high property taxes. "People in Westchester either get used to paying high taxes or they move away. People are leaving Westchester because they can't afford to live here and that makes me sad as a resident." Konig says reeling in spending is the best way to deal with the tax issue.
When asked about specific ways that county government could cut spending, Konig pointed out Playland. The Croton resident said the park could be run by a professional entertainment company. "Obviously our government is no good at running an amusement park," said Konig.
Konig believes that the top issues people in the 9th District (which includes Ossining, Croton, Cortlandt and Briarcliff Manor) are concerned about include taxes and reforming government. "First you have to bring big government under control and then take a look at what it's providing."
Completely dissolving county government has been discussed recently here in Westchester. In response to the idea, Konig said the issue should be up to the voters. She then talked about possible first steps as a legislator if she were elected. "I would like to get in there and see what's going on in county [government] and see how essential it is as a government body. You know right now, if you look at the headlines, it just seems like a bunch of nonsense going on with the legislators."
Konig says during her time as a Croton village trustee, she learned that elected officials can affect change when it comes to lowering taxes and cutting budgets. "Well intentioned common sense citizens can run for office and make a difference. And honestly, as a Republican in Westchester… it's hard to get into government—it's hard to get elected. When you do get elected, you don't know how long you're going to be in there. So we worked very hard [during her tenure as a Croton trustee] to accomplish a lot in two years."
In regards to losing to Bill Burton two years ago, Konig says that her message of lower taxes and fiscal conservatism resonated with voters. She says her message is the reason for the 2009 election being so close. "I think a lot of people did hear my message. That made me want to run for the seat again, because I felt like a lot of people supported me."
When asked about her opponent, Konig said she doesn't know Borgia that well, but she has observed that the people Borgia surrounds herself with, when making public announcements, are not agents of change. Konig says those individuals include Westchester County Legislature Chairman Ken Jenkins and Bill Burton. "If she [Borgia] shares the ideology of those guys, then I'm thinking, there's not a lot of change coming with her." Konig says she is running to change the tone of the Legislature. She feels that change is not on Borgia's agenda and that the Town of Ossining supervisor would represent the status quo.
Konig lived in New York City, but she says that when she moved to Westchester she never looked back. The mother of two teens, and an 11 and six-year-old says we have to fight for our county and state, and try to make New York great again.