Dan Branda formally announced his virtual “front-porch” campaign for Westchester County Executive on Thursday. Branda, a Republican from Somers, intends to unseat current County Executive George Latimer in 2021 with an agenda that includes a commitment to reduce the property tax burden and an open, bi-partisan government while investing in county infrastructure and effective constituent service programs.
“I am running for Westchester County Executive because I want to raise my children here,” Branda said. “However, Westchester is simply unaffordable for too many—including us. The crushing burdens of property taxes and housing costs are proving to be outright barriers for seniors to remain in their homes, for a young family like mine to stay here and settle into a home of our own, for young professionals looking to live in the county where they grew up or currently work, or for anyone simply seeking the opportunities that Westchester offers.”
Acknowledging the limitations of a traditional campaign during the COVID-19 pandemic, Branda said he plans to run a virtual front-porch campaign that aggressively interacts with voters across multiple media channels.
Branda’s expansive agenda admittedly goes beyond the County Executive’s powers and duties by requiring him to advocate at the state and federal level while building a local coalition of schools, municipalities, businesses, and non-profits to deliver a strong and inclusive local government that reflects Westchester’s values and meets its needs.
The agenda, which will be fully released in the coming months, includes:
- A long-term phase-down of the county’s reliance on property taxes by building a stronger sales tax base, reducing costs through 21st century efficiencies, and effectively advocating against unfunded state mandates;
- Investment in major infrastructure projects to help rebuild our economy--hardening our bridges and dams, working with districts to rebuild schools, embracing ambitious projects such as burying utility lines, and advocating for a state Public-Private Partnership mechanism;
- A unified Westchester that rises above the toxic partisan fighting in D.C. and Albany--local government is about asking our neighbors to manage our affairs and progress our community, not identity politics, corrupt self-dealing and backroom deals, or mental gymnastics to justify political trolling;
- Common-sense public safety reform and emergency preparedness that learns from the past, builds on community expertise, thoroughly communicates to the public, and does not unnecessarily recreate the wheel;
- A commitment to a “customer service” approach to constituent service across all government departments, including a dedication to transparency and accountability with rapid FOIA responses and expanded web publishing of key figures, contracts, and external communications.
Branda said that the property tax burden will be his most immediate concern because Westchester government is heading toward a financial crisis that will unfairly and irreparably harm its residents.
“Property taxes are completely disconnected from our ability to pay but can have a devastating impact on families, especially in today’s economic climate,” Branda said. “We’re seeing a combustible mix of high unemployment, economic recession, and feckless management of the government’s finances that could easily force untenable property tax increases: The county is facing an immediate and crushing $250 million budget deficit, unfunded long-term employment liabilities near $4 billion, and a deep cut to local aid by the Governor. People are going to lose their homes, or be evicted from their apartments, without a significant bailout from the federal government because George Latimer spent money he never had and now has no better plan.”
The general election for Westchester County Executive is November 2, 2021.
The County Executive serves a four-year term.
About Dan Branda
Dan Branda has been involved in Westchester County politics since 2009, serving as Executive Director in the State Assembly and State Senate for Greg Ball and as a policy advisor and Communications Specialist for County Executive Rob Astorino. Branda also served as Executive Director for Ball’s successful Senate campaigns in 2010 and 2012, and directed Field Operations for Astorino’s 2013 and 2017 County Executive campaigns. In 2020, Branda launched a digital marketing and web development business, Branding Company LLC. From 2018-2019, he served as Chairman of the Suffolk County Legislature’s Reduce County Spending Task Force and was the Policy Director at Reclaim New York, a non-profit good government organization.
Dan lives in Somers, NY, with his wife Julia and children Lucy and Jack.