Elections

County Shake-up Spells End for Kaplowitz as Chairman

Michael Kaplowitz, chairman of the Westchester County Board of Legislators Credits: File Photo

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – Last week’s election results were bittersweet for Mike Kaplowitz, who won an 11th term as county legislator but will likely be ousted from his chairman’s post.

Kaplowitz, a Democrat who ran unopposed, has been chairman of the 17-member Westchester County Board of Legislators since January 2014, when a bipartisan coalition of seven Republicans and two Democrats put him in power.

On election night, three Republican members of that coalition were defeated, giving Democrats a 12-5 majority. Because of this, Kaplowitz does not expect his run as chairman to be extended.

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“I think it’s pretty clear there will be a new leadership team on both the eighth and ninth floors,” Kaplowitz said. “It’s been fun and rewarding and productive. You merely rent that position and I think there will be a new tenant.”

Kaplowitz, though, said he was excited about continuing to represent District 4, which covers most of Yorktown, at the county level.

“It remains a gift and real privilege to be in elected office and to have the confidence of the people,” Kaplowitz said. “I really respect and appreciate and thank everyone for that.”

Like many, Kaplowitz said he was surprised by the margin of victory in the Westchester County executive race in which Democratic challenger George Latimer unseated two-term Republican incumbent Rob Astorino by more than 28,000 votes.

“Common wisdom had it up or down a couple of points,” he said. “That’s why common wisdom is often common, but not terribly wise.”

Kaplowitz, who took office in 1998, said he has an existing relationship with Latimer, who served on the Westchester County Board of Legislators from 1991 to 2005. Kaplowitz said he was the deciding vote that made Latimer county chairman in 1998.

“My first vote I cast [as a county legislator] was for George as chairman,” Kaplowitz said. “I have a very good relationship with Mr. Latimer and I think he will be a good county executive.”

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