Ryan Steps Down, County Legislator Race Heats Up

While seeking the Democratic nod for Westchester County Executive last October, County Legislator William Ryan announced he will not seek re-election for a ninth consecutive term on the board.

“Although my service with the county board will conclude Dec. 31, [2013] it is not my plan to retire and I am currently considering several public sector offers for 2014,” Ryan said.

Although the April 24 Democratic Convention did not provide Ryan the support for which he’d hoped, as he placed third out of three candidates vying to challenge Republican Rob Astorino for county executive, Ryan reaffirmed his stance not to seek another two-year term on the Board of Legislators.

This story first appeared in the Harrison Report on May 31, 2013. 

Now, after 16 years on the board, Ryan has endorsed who he hopes will succeed him as legislator of the 5th district—which currently includes Scarsdale, White Plains and a portion of West Harrison—giving his nod to the Democratic frontrunner, White Plains City Councilman Ben Boykin.

A member of the City of White Plains Common Council since 2000, Boykin said he has been instrumental in $1.2 billion of investment in downtown White Plains, fought to change zoning to protect White Plains neighborhoods, supported public safety initiatives to protect residents and protect the environment, and created 180 units of workforce housing.

“I will work to bring more transparency to the county’s budget process and implement budgets that protect the most vulnerable among us,” Boykin said. “I will fight for better coordination and working relationships between the county government and our villages, towns and cities to tackle and solve mutual issues in order to enhance our quality of life.”

Seeking the Democratic endorsement, Boykin has already secured the Harrison, White Plains and Scarsdale Democratic committees approvals as well as an endorsement from prominent Democrats like Legislator Ryan and the support of White Plains Mayor Thomas Roach.

“I will not be stepping down from my seat on the White Plains Common Council,” Boykin said. “I will continue to serve the people of White Plains while I campaign to represent them and the residents of Scarsdale and a portion of Harrison at the county Board of Legislators.”

GOP hopeful Dr. Miriam Levitt-Flisser has also thrown her hat into the ring for the 5th legislative district seat. Dr. Flisser, a full-time pediatric physician, stepped down from her role as mayor of Scarsdale earlier this year after serving a twoyear term in office. She also served as village trustee for four years, during which time she was appointed police commissioner and fire commissioner of the village.

According to Flisser, she acquired several qualities over her years as a physician and public servant that would serve her well as a county legislator.

“I have over 20 years experience with the administrative and legislative process,” Flisser said. “I am open to constituents’ input…[in determining] how I will develop what residents want.” County legislators are elected to serve two-year terms.