Verizon Fios1: Cuomo endorses Harckham

Cuomo endorses Harckham

Governor Andrew Cuomo has endorsed Pete Harckham for #StateSenate. #FiOS1News’ Jonathan Julien Gordon has the story.

Posted by Verizon FiOS1 – Lower Hudson Valley on Friday, October 5, 2018

Governor Andrew Cuomo has endorsed Pete Harckham for #StateSenate. #FiOS1News’ Jonathan Julien Gordon has the story.

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Harckham Endorsed for Positions on Women’s Reproductive Rights

Major Support from Westchester Coalition for Legal Abortion PAC & Planned Parenthood Empire State Votes PAC

Two major women’s reproductive rights groups, the Westchester Coalition for Legal Abortion PAC and Planned Parenthood Empire State Votes PAC, have endorsed Democratic candidate Pete Harckham in the race against Republican incumbent State Senator Terrence Murphy for NYS SD40. The endorsements follow last week’s endorsement of Harckham for his support of women’s health care issues by NY State Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul.

“With New York women’s rights under assault by Trump and his Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh, the Reproductive Health Act must be passed in order to protect the women of New York State,” said Catherine Lederer-Plaskett, Director of the Westchester Coalition for Legal Abortion PAC. “New York women deserve 21st-century healthcare. Peter’s opponent disagrees. We need to elect Pete Harckham so that he can cast the deciding vote codifying Roe v. Wade in NYS law.”

“We must fight to protect our health care and rights from the threat of a federal government that believes women shouldn’t have control over their own bodies,” said Robin Chappelle Golston, Chair of Planned Parenthood Empire State Votes PAC. “When elected to the NY State Senate, Pete Harckham will work closely with other elected representatives to create a strong state that can stand up to Washington’s attacks on our equality, health, rights, and well-being.”

“I’m grateful for the support of these two major women’s health care groups,” said Harckham. “As the father of two adult daughters, I care deeply about matters of women’s reproductive rights and health and will work diligently to make New York State a leader in protecting those rights”.

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The Examiner: Harckham, Women’s Rights Advocates Press for Reproductive Health Act

Supporters of the proposed Reproductive Health Act 40th gathered in Chappaqua last Friday with Senate District candidate Peter Harckham urging the importance of swinging the Senate to the Democrats to pass the legislation.

Harckham was joined by Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul and other Democratic women officeholders at the Chappaqua train station the day after dramatic Senate Judiciary Committee testimony from U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, one of the women who accused him of sexual assault.

Harckham said passage of the Reproductive Health Act in New York is essential because it would codify Roe v. Wade in the event the landmark 1973 decision is overturned by the Supreme Court or portions of the ruling are weakened. Although New York State legalized abortion in 1970, it remains in the penal code instead of the health code, which could make it easier to curtail or deny abortions, he said.

The Democratic-controlled Assembly has approved the legislation multiple times but Senate Republican leaders have repeatedly thwarted it from reaching the floor for a vote, giving cover to their legislators, including 40thstate Senate District incumbent Terrence Murphy, Harckham’s opponent next month, supporters argued.

The Murphy-Harckham match up is seen as a key race in the Democrats’ quest to wrest control of the Senate.

“If it’s not this Judge Kavanaugh it will be the next Judge Kavanaugh,” Harckham said. “Who is to protect our daughters, our wives, our sisters, our partners? Will it be Sen. Terrence Murphy? I don’t think so.”

Hochul pledged that if the Democrats win the majority in the state Senate they would pass the Reproductive Health Act in the first 30 days of 2019. Other legislation, including passage of the Child Victims Act, would follow, she said.

“We have strongly believed for a long time that we need to protect the women of this state against the whims of Washington because we have said for years, you never know when the Supreme Court flips, Congress flips, when the presidency flips,” Hochul said. “Ladies and gentlemen, they have all flipped and they have flipped on their heads. It’s a very topsy-turvy time right now, an unsettling time. It’s a very somber time if you’re a woman in this country.”

In addition to abortion rights, contraception rights could also be in jeopardy of being hollowed out, said Catherine Lederer-Plaskett, president and chair of the Westchester Coalition for Legal Abortion.

She said that the legislation approved in 1970 during Republican Gov. Nelson Rockefeller’s administration and with both houses of the legislature controlled by the GOP, has not been updated to reflect changing times.

“We have not moved women’s health into the 21st century and we must do that,” Lederer-Plaskett said. “The only way we can do that is by making the majority of the Senate a Democratic majority. We are working hard to do that but without every single person out there voting to make the Senate majority Democrat, we will not get the Reproductive Health Act.”

After reaching out to Murphy last week, his campaign released a prepared statement calling Harckham’s press conference “a desperate attempt by my opponent to distract voters from the facts.”

Murphy’s statement pointed to his sponsorship of the women’s equality agenda, the state’s new sexual harassment law and new legislation to protect victims of rape and domestic violence as evidence that he has supported issues important to women.

“It’s easy to score a headline, but it is harder to actually deliver, and for (the) past four years I’m proud of all I have done for the people of the 40th Senate District,” Murphy’s statement read.

New Castle Councilwoman Ivy Pool said last week’s events in Washington makes the races for state legislature this year, including the Harckham-Murphy battle, critical battles.

“It’s been a stunning reminder that women’s equality is not inevitable and that we need elected officials at every level of government who see us, who hear us and who believe us when we tell stories of our own kind of experience,” Pool said.

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Pete Harckham Calls for NY State Health Care Reform on WNYC

Murphy Ducks Debate Despite Issuing Previous Health Care Challenge; Has Access to Quality NYS Health Coverage, Why Can’t His Constituents?

Speaking on WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show this morning, Pete Harckham, Democratic candidate for NY State Senate District 40 called for “real health care reform in New York State”. His opponent, incumbent Republican State Senator Terrence Murphy, declined to appear on the program despite previously issuing a public statement challenging Harckham to debate health care.

Listen to Harckham’s WNYC appearance at:

“Healthcare should be a basic right available to all New York residents, not a privilege accessible only to those fortunate enough to afford it,” said Harckham. “Senator Murphy has access to high-quality affordable health coverage through Albany’s New York State Health Insurance Program, so why can’t his constituents have the same”?

“While the Affordable Care Act is being hollowed out by Donald Trump and Republican legislators, resulting in deteriorating health insurance coverage and increased premiums, Senator Murphy and his colleagues in the Republican-controlled State Senate are blocking key legislation that could improve health care in New York State from even being discussed on the Senate floor,” Harckam added.

“Debating options for universal health care in New York is the right thing to do, especially since studies by the RAND Corporation and UMass Amherst have found that such a system could improve care and save the state money,” Harckham said. “In addition, it may be the most comprehensive way to address the Opioid/Heroin addiction crisis and the lack of parity for mental health treatment”.

New York State Senate District 40 includes parts of Northern Westchester (Briarcliff Manor, Buchanan, Cortlandt, Croton-on-Hudson, Lewisboro, Mount Kisco, Mount Pleasant, New Castle, North Salem, Peekskill, Pleasantville, Pound Ridge, Sleepy Hollow, Somers, Yorktown) Putnam (Brewster, Carmel, Patterson, Southeast) and Dutchess (Beekman, Pawling).

District residents interested in Harckham’s New York State Senate campaign can visit www.PeteForNY.com and @PeteforNY on Twitter and Instagram to learn more, volunteer, or contribute.

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WNYC: 30 Issues: New York Health Act

30 Issues in 30 Days continues: Since 1992, a bill that would give New Yorkers universal health care passed the state Assembly five times, including the last four years in a row, but it has always died in the Republican-controlled State Senate. Could that be about to change?

Listen to Pete Harckham on WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show

Now that the State Senate is teetering on the edge of becoming Democrat, could The New York Health Act be about to see its day?

Pete Harckham, former Westchester County Legislator Majority Leader and Democratic Candidate for the New York State Senate in the 40thDistrict, and Chris Pope, Manhattan Institute senior fellow, debate about whether New Yorkers would be better off with single payer health care.

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Senator Murphy Abuses Taxpayer Dollars To Fund Political Mailer

Harckham Demands Campaign Reimburse Taxpayers

Following the delivery of a political flyer to select postal addresses within NY State Senate District 40 by Senator Terrence Murphy, Democratic candidate Pete Harckham is demanding that Murphy reimburse taxpayers for the expense. The flyers (pictured above) which were not sent to every constituent, were clearly targeted to a political audience, using taxpayer money to fund a political mailer very close to the upcoming election on November 6.

“It is outrageous that Terrence Murphy is using taxpayer dollars to fund his reelection bid by sending state financed mailers after the primary,” says Harckham. “Getting taxpayers to pick up this tab is the kind of shenanigans that has people outraged at Albany politicians. He needs to tell taxpayers how much of their money he spent on his political mail and when he will reimburse them.”

Harckham notes the NY State Assembly, which has a Democratic majority, has rules prohibiting sending out such mailers close to an election. However the Republican-controlled NY State Senate has different rules. “The Senate should have similar rules and hopefully will enact them when a Democratic majority is elected,” Harckham adds.

Murphy mailers

New York State Senate District 40 includes parts of Northern Westchester (Briarcliff Manor, Buchanan, Cortlandt, Croton-on-Hudson, Lewisboro, Mount Kisco, Mount Pleasant, New Castle, North Salem, Peekskill, Pleasantville, Pound Ridge, Sleepy Hollow, Somers, Yorktown) Putnam (Brewster, Carmel, Patterson, Southeast) and Dutchess (Beekman, Pawling).

District residents interested in Harckham’s New York State Senate campaign can visitwww.PeteForNY.com and @PeteforNY on Twitter andInstagram to learn more, volunteer, or contribute.

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Poughkeepsie Journal: Harckham takes Democratic line in 40th Senate race

Peter Harckham will be facing off against incumbent state Sen. Terrence Murphy in November.

With 243 of 249 districts reporting, Harckham had 11,116 votes to Kesten’s 9,579 in the Democratic primary for the 40th Senate District.

See New York primary results for statewide, Dutchess and Ulster elections

Harckham is a former Westchester County legislator who resigned in 2015 to take a job with the administration of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. He said he’d be suited to bring in support from voters not affiliated with either party, giving him an edge in the November general election against Murphy, a two-term Yorktown Republican.

Kesten said that the governor “waited to ask, or to push” Harckham in the race until after he’d begun fundraising and building support. By the time Harkham got started, Kesten had already netted endorsements from many local Democratic committees in the Senate’s 40th District, which includes northern Westchester and parts of Putnam and Dutchess counties.

District 40 is one of the few battleground districts in the state that could determine which party controls the Senate. Every legislator is up for election in November and a gain of even one seat for Democrats can topple a slim Republican majority.

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Tapinto: 40th Senate District: Harckham Apparent Winner in Democratic Primary

HUDSON VALLEY, N.Y. – Peter Harckham (D-South Salem) will challenge incumbent state Sen. Terrence Murphy (R-Yorktown) in November’s general election after defeating Robert Kesten (D-South Salem) in yesterday’s Democratic Party primary, according to unofficial election results.

More than 21,000 votes were cast in the 40th State Senate District primary, with Harckham, a former Westchester County legislator, picking up 53.6 percent of the vote between Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess counties.

“We’re hitting the ground running tomorrow,” Harckham said around midnight from his campaign headquarters in Mount Kisco. “We’re going to be going to every town in the district day after day after day. And we’re going to be talking about fighting for Hudson [Valley] values. And the days of Donald Trump values in the Hudson Valley are over.”


  • Harckham – 9,606
  • Kesten – 8,155


  • Harckham – 1,240
  • Kesten – 1,121


  • Harckham – 445
  • Kesten – 497


  • Harckham – 11,291
  • Kesten – 9,773
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LoHud: New York primary results: Pete Harckham beats Robert Kesten

Video:’s Mark Lungariello interviews Pete Harckham

Former Westchester County Legislator Pete Harckham won a Democratic Party primary Thursday in a battleground New York state Senate District.

Harckham, a Lewisboro resident and former staffer of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration, beat fellow Lewisboro resident Robert Kesten.

“To all voters who are tired of the corruption and partisan gridlock, who feel that both Washington and Albany are not listening, I hear you and I will fight for you,” Harckham, 57, said on Thursday. “I will fight the attack on New York from extremists in Washington and their allies in Albany. I will fight for Hudson Valley values, not Trump values.”

Harckham has supported Kesten and even donated to his campaign before throwing his hat into the ring. He’ll now go on to face two-term incumbent Republican Terrence Murphy of Yorktown.

The seat represents District 40, one of the few districts considered in play in a year where even a one-seat swing can shift which party controls the Senate.

The District 40 seat has been held by a Republican for years, even though active registered Democrats outnumber Republicans there 70,498-59,222, according to state Board of Elections logs. There are also 49,696 active voters not registered to any party who could be in play.

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Record-Review: Harckham Touts Experience ‘as a distinct advantage’

With the Democratic primary for State Senator in the 40th district coming up on Thursday, Sept. 13th, the Record-Review is profiling each of the two candidates. This week the focus is on Pete Harckham.


The winner of the Democratic primary will face incumbent Republican Terrance Murphy in the November general election.

"Harckham touts experience 'as a distinct advantage'"

Pete Harckham is currently a Lewisboro resident. He grew up in Rockland County, where he attended Clarkstown High School North. Later a student at Dickinson College, he graduated in 1982 with a Bachelor of Arts in English.


“My first job out of college was working for a law firm assisting in an anti-trust litigation between oil companies and the makers of off-shore oil rigs,” Mr. Harckham said. “From there I moved to the advertising business, working on Madison Avenue.”
 Asked to name the most important job he had held, he pointed to his years serving as a Westchester County Legislator. Mr. Harckham represented the 2nd legislative district, which includes Bedford, Lewisboro, and Pound Ridge as well as Mount Kisco, North Salem and Somers, from 2008 to 2015. He was the majority leader for two terms, from 2010 to 2013. During his first year on the board, Andy Spano a Democrat, was county executive. Mr. Spano was defeated when he ran for re-election in 2009, and Republican Rob Astorino became county executive for the rest of Mr. Harckham’s time on the board.


“The board is small enough that you can accomplish things,” Mr. Harckham said, “but represents a large enough population – nearly one million people – that what you do is impactful.” 
        Among the accomplishments Mr. Harckham cited for his tenure on the board are both legislative achievements when Democrats controlled the board, and battles fought once Mr. Astorino entered office and, subsequently, Republicans gained control.


“We passed important legislation to expand the scope of the Human Rights Compassion to enforce the Federal Fair Housing law,’ he said, “and we created a program to help people stave off foreclosure and eviction during the height of the housing crisis.”


Mr. Harckham said he fought “unwise cuts to childcare subsidies” in order to empower lower income families to keep working and contributing to the economy in Westchester, and to keep them off expensive mandated services. On the environmental front, he said, “we passed key legislation to facilitate growth of the solar industry in Westchester, along with expanding plastics recycling from only 1-2, to 3-7.” In addition, he said, “I negotiated a multi-part septic management plan that saved watershed municipalities money while meeting rigorous phosphorous reduction mandates.”


An economic efficiency for which Mr. Harckham takes at least partial credit was helping to facilitate the merger of the Mount Kisco police with the county police. “That saved money by sharing services and personnel,” he said, “as well as providing better protection to the village.” He said he also worked with the County Office of Emergency Management, as well as local municipal OEMs during hurricanes Sandy and Irene and the Halloween Nor’easter. “And all of the while,” he added, “we battled budget challenges due to the recession; we had held the line on taxes and saved jobs in the process.” 
         Mr. Harckham explained what made him first decide to run for elective office. “I had been actively fighting for progressive Democratic values in what was then a largely Republican area of the Hudson Valley, since 2000,” he said. “I also became a board member of A-HOME, an organization that builds and manages affordable housing in northern Westchester. I saw how effective county government could be in facilitating the creation of housing and realized that as the regional government, county government was well suited to tackle a number of issues in northern Westchester.”
 Mr. Harckham ran successfully for county legislator in 2007 and was re-elected in 2009. In 2010, Mr. Harckham ran for the New York State Assembly seat in the 89th district, which comprised most of his county legislative district as well as New Castle, North Castle, Harrison and sections of White Plains. The seat was vacated by Adam Bradley, who had become mayor of White Plains, and a special election was held in February. Mr. Harckham was defeated by Robert Castelli, a former Lewisboro councilman, but continued to serve in the county legislature. He was re-elected for a second time in 2011 and a third time in 2013.


In February of 2015, Mr. Harckham announced he would not seek re-election, saying, “I have loved this job like no other I’ve had but it is time to move in a new direction for my family and my career.”


In June of that year he left the legislature when he was named to a position in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration as assistant director of the office of Community Renewal. At the time he was quoted as saying, “I’m honored. It’s a wonderful opportunity to return to my roots in housing. It’s a new chapter in my public service and an exciting opportunity.”


Mr. Harckham maintained that his experience in elected office makes him well-qualified to become an effective state senator. “While it is great to call for sweeping legislative change, having the knowledge and experience to actually draft and pass legislation is something else. As someone who served as a legislator for four terms, I thoroughly understand the legislative process and have successfully built coalitions to pass numerous pieces of important legislation,” he stated.


Mr. Harckham also cited his three years serving in the governor’s administration. “In the Office of Community Renewal, my primary task was the allotment of $4.3 million in Community Development Block Grant funding,” he said. He also served as the liaison to the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council, worked for the Thruway Authority as the director of intergovernmental affairs of the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement project, and served on the DOT task force developing the new bus system that will connect Rockland and Westchester Counties. 
    Mr. Harckham said that through his time serving in state government, he had learned how New York State works and how to get things done. “Ultimately, to be an effective legislator you have to care about serving people and understand that the majority of the job is serving your constituents and constituent municipalities,” he said.


Mr. Harckham said that Democrats “are focused on the mission of defeating Sen. Murphy and gaining a Democratic majority in the State Senate.” Their focus now is on a “process to determine who will be the right candidate to take on Murphy. To that end, experience and qualifications matter,” he said.


Asked to distinguish himself from his primary opponent, he said, “I am the only Democratic candidate who has run in and won elections. I turned a red seat blue and held it during the height of the Tea Party. I know how to message to independent voters and disaffected Republicans, both of whom are necessary to win this race.”


He continued, “I am also the only candidate who has been a legislator, balanced budgets, and forged coalitions of legislators on both sides of the aisle, along with community groups, to pass important legislation. My experience, both politically, administratively and legislatively, is a distinct advantage.”

This article appeared in the Record-Review in August, 2018.

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