Lead Stories, Politics

Rye Brook Democrat to take on Gelfarb in 6th District

A Democrat from Rye Brook plans on challenging David Gelfarb, hoping favorable voter registration numbers and a strong Democratic surge following last year’s presidential election are enough to seize the day.

Nancy Barr

Nancy Barr, 57, told the Review that she will challenge her Republican opponent for Westchester County’s 6th legislative district seat in November.

Barr said she decided to run after the Woman’s March protest on the weekend of the presidential inauguration.

“I’ve been considering it for a couple of months,” she said. “I’ve been involved in a group called We Persist…. Several of us from the area went on the march in New York City and it just really energized us and it made us feel like there’s something we can do about what’s going on in the world.”

A practicing attorney, Barr was also on the Blind Brook school board from 2009 to 2015, and served as president of the board during that time. She said that during her tenure on the school board, she tried to be hands-on, objective and transparent about the issues, adding that she doesn’t see the same degree of transparency from county government. She said that she also wants to bring more transparency and better communication to the Board of Legislators.

“I certainly would want to bring more accountability to the people through getting more information out to the public in a more timely fashion about important matters like the county airport,” she said.

Last November, the administration of County Executive Rob Astorino, a Republican, announced that it would look to enter into a long-term lease agreement for the Westchester County Airport, which drew concern from residents in the communities surrounding the airport, including all of District 6, which encompasses all of the villages of Port Chester and Rye Brook and most of the town/village of Harrison. Barr said that the county, including Gelfarb, has been more open about the airport plans in recent months, but suggested that it was politically motivated.

In speaking with the Review this week, Gelfarb said that he has long been focused on preventing the expansion and privatization of the airport, adding that he was the most transparent of any county legislator when discussing that issue. “I have already organized and led four separate discussions on the airport deal,” he said. “There’s nobody more transparent.”

David Gelfarb

Although Gelfarb, of Rye Brook, has held the seat for three consecutive terms, it is a heavily Democratic district by the numbers, with 12,300 registered Democrats to only 7,600 registered Republicans, according to recent figures from the county Board of Elections.

Barr has also gained the endorsement of the county Independence and Working Families parties.

Gelfarb first won the seat in 2011, topping Democrat Daniel Brakewood, of Port Chester, and Independence Party candidate Mark Jaffe, of Harrison, in a three-way race to replace outgoing Democrat Marty Rogowski, who retired at the end of that year. Jaffe lost to Gelfarb again in 2013, after picking up the Democratic and Independence lines. And in 2015, Gelfarb ran unopposed.

The incumbent said he was looking forward to running a competitive race for the District 6 seat again this year. “I welcome any and all competition,” he said. “It’s great to have competition.”

This year, Gelfarb will have the backing of the Conservative Party, staying consistent with his three previous county elections.

“I just think that we need a different type of leadership now, Barr said, “and I think that I can be that kind of person.”

All 17 seats on the county Board of Legislators are in play this year on Election Day, Nov. 7. County legislators earn an annual salary of $49,200 and serve two-year terms.

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