As his campaign reached the hot months of summer, Chris Carey often thought back to words of encouragement from his two daughters.
“Dad,” they told Carey, “Don’t embarrass us.”
The advice worked, as Wednesday night Carey was one of four new members sworn into the Rockland County Legislature.
“In the coming days and weeks, we will engage in bipartisan process to address the fiscal house of Rockland County,” Carey told a packed crowd at the Allison-Parris County Office Building. “
, a Republican from Bardonia, will represent District 9. , a Democrat from Nyack, will represent District 17. , a Democrat from Nanuet, will represent District 14. Aron Wieder, a Democrat from Spring Valley, will represent District 13.
Additionally at Wednesday’s meeting, Harriet Cornell was unanimously voted to an eighth term as chairwoman of the legislature. Before Cornell was reappointed, she had to be nominated, which was done by Legislator Michael Grant.
“With each passing year, Harriet has set a new standard for leadership,” Grant said.
He went on to talk about some of Cornell’s accomplishments during her 28 years in the legislature, and about why she makes a good leader.
“Harriet is a compassionate policy maker and a thoughtful and innovative lawmaker,” Grant said. “She’s caring and committed to our community. Harriet connects with the people of Rockland County. She listens to everything from constituents, community leaders and colleagues alike. She acts with clarity and good conviction.”
The nomination was seconded by newcomer Low-Hogan, who said everyone knows that Cornell’s list of accomplishments is long and “can fill many pages,” so instead she wanted to talk about Cornell’s personal qualities, such as her warmth, eloquence, intelligence and more.
“Harriet, you are an outstanding role model for me and for all women elected officials,” Low-Hogan said. “In fact, you are a role model for all elected officials, not just women.”
Cornell said she honored to be selected again and added that there is no place she would rather be. She spoke about her own family a bit and how some of the various groups around Rockland the legislature work to help and protect. One important group Cornell talked about was children.
“I first came to Rockland as a 10-year-old girl scout to spend two weeks at a camp in the Palisades Park system. It cost seven dollars a week, which I thought was a fortune and didn’t know if my parents could afford it,” Cornell said. “I have never forgotten that experience with the importance of making a difference in a child’s life. Children count on adults to protect them and help them develop in constructive ways. What kind of a county, what kind of a nation are we if we don’t prepare today’s children to be tomorrow’s leaders?”
She also talked about a few things she is hoping to see in the coming year. One is a new Tappan Zee Bridge, which she said won’t be built in 2012, but has been selected as one of five transportation projects nationwide to be listed for expedited treatment by the Obama administration.
Another issue Cornell mentioned was the future of Summit Park nursing home and hospital. She added she wants to have a county water policy to address water quality, supply, flood control, drought and conservation.
Cornell said the legislature must work together to solve those issues and the others the county is facing and will face.
“The Rockland County Legislature has faced many challenges in the past few years and will face many more. It’s not the challenges we encounter, but our joint commitment to respond to those challenges that will determine how we move forward,” Cornell said. “When we work together on behalf of the men, women and children of this diverse county, we can fulfill their hopes and dreams.”
Also at Wednesday’s meeting, Alden Wolfe was unanimously reappointed as vice chairperson of the legislature. Laurence O. Toole was named clerk to the legislators for a 12th year and he appointed Mary Widmer deputy clerk for the 11th year.
Grant was reappointed majority leader, and he selected Toney Earl as deputy majority leader. Frank Sparaco was reappointed minority leader of the legislature.
All 17 legislators were sworn into office