Outspoken Port Chester politician Saverio "Sam" Terenzi is the latest person to eye Suzi Oppenheimer's seat since the state senator announced she won't seek re-election in 2013.
Terenzi joins Scarsdale's Bob Cohen and New Castle's Diane Roth as early contenders in a match-up against a yet-to-be-named Democrat for the 37th district seat.
The difference — Cohen and Roth are Republicans, while Terenzi is a Conservative. Terenzi touted his credentials on Friday afternoon while describing the rationale behind his decision.
"This is about the seat," Terenzi said, "but it's also about the Conservative Party getting some credibility and Republicans realizing we're a force to be reckoned with."
Terenzi is the chairman of Rye Town's Conservative Party, as well as executive director of the county Conservative Party.
What differentiates him from Cohen and Roth? Terenzi points to his social conservatism, as well as his financial experience. He's an accountant by day, and made good on promises to cut taxes after voters elected him to Port Chester's village board in 2010's historic election.
He hopes voters respond to the idea of sending a local leader to Albany, where he can advocate for local communities in tough economic times.
"No one's more keenly aware of the impact of unfunded mandates on municipalities," Terenzi said.
What's next? Terenzi will launch an exploratory committee and muster support from local conservatives. On Thursday night he met with county conservatives, following a gathering on Tuesday with Republican town and district leaders from across Westchester.
Pointing to his work and close association with Rye Town Supervisor — and senate candidate – Joseph Carvin, Terenzi said he's running to make sure Republican values align with those of conservatives.
"I've always worked very closely with Republicans," he said. "I don't want this to be a line in the sand, but everybody's been keying in on the race and our Conservative caucus feels this is a time and place to be heard and to get our voice out."
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