Bill Ryan has a long career in public service in Westchester County. In more than three decades, his biography includes having been part of Peekskill's Democratic organization in the 1970s, having served as a state assemblyman in the 1980s and as a county legislator (including time as chair) since the late 1990s.
Now, Ryan is seeking another office: county executive.
Ryan (D-White Plains), says that he wants to bring "strong, capable leadership" to the office, and notes his experience.
Ryan, whose district includes White Plains, Scarsdale and part of Harrison, served as chair of the County Board of Legislators from 2004 to 2009. He also notes that during his tenure, who was under Andrew Spano as county executive, the county's average annual tax levy increase was 2.6 percent. To achieve major tax savings, however, Ryan believes that New York State needs to relieve Westchester of its mandate oversight of Medicaid and take over the program itself. He believes that a takeover can coincide with savings from the ongoing Medicaid Redesign program, along with the results of the federal Affordable Care Act.
Ryan also touts his experience in interacting at the state level, having served as president for the New York State Association of Counties from 2010-11, when state mandate relief, including from Medicaid, was a topic.
On other mandate topics, Ryan supports reforming the state's pension system, whose required contributions have drawn frustration from local governments and school districts due to sharp escalations that he contributed to rising property taxes. He does not support repealing the Triborough Amendment to the state's Taylor Law - it leaves in place terms of expired employee union contracts until new deals are reached - feeling that it would not be helpful. On another collective bargaining topic, getting each of the county's unions to support having health insurance contributions in their contracts, Ryan supports it for each, and argues that Astorino has not done a good job in working with the unions.
Ryan's other state experience includes working on the New York State Legislative Commission on State-Local Relations.
Ryan is also critical of Astorino on his handling of the county's federal affordable housing settlement, which was reached in 2009 while he was legislative chair. It calls for the construction of 750 housing units by 2016. Specifically, Ryan disagrees with Astorino's opposition over requiring landlords to accept Section 8 vouchers are rental income, arguing that Section 8 is "very good program."
On the issue of Playland's future, Ryan disagree's with Astorino's deal with Sustainable Playland, arguing that he cannot act by himself. Ryan also believes that Playland has not been marketed enough or invested in enough, and wants to see that it remains an amusement park.
Ryan is one of three Democrats seeking his party's nomination, running against current legislative Chairman Ken Jenkins (D-Yonkers) and New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson. In addition, Astorino is facing a challenge for the Conservative Party ballot line from New Rochelle resident Kurt Colucci.