BY MICHAEL CAHILL
Obama gets four more years; Democrats win GOP seats in Rockland, in 2012 you can go ahead and paint the county blue
Rockland County and America has gone through yet another historic election. This time President Barack Obama became America’s third consecutive two-term president. Locally, there was even more good news for Dems as the village of Sloatsburg went blue and for the first time in decades the Town of Stony Point will have a Democratic Assembly member.
Democrats gathered together for a winning Election Night party on Tuesday at the Town and Country catering hall in Congers. The event was open to everyone, and was specifically aimed at those still without power because of last week’s storm, as it doubled as a benefit event for people to bring extra food and clothing for storm victims. People to People will distribute those goods to those still without power in Rockland County.
Congresswoman Nita Lowey and her campaign organized the event. Lowey defeated Republican Joe Carvin nearly two to one. State Senator David Carlucci, Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski, and Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee were also in attendance. As fate would have it they were also all winners in their respective races. Zebrowski ran unopposed while the others defeated their opposition by commanding margins of two to one or more.
People from all walks of life came out to support the local candidates and President Obama. At its peak, the event room was crowded with well over 100 enthusiastic supporters. Each announcement of a Democratic victory met with loud cheers from the crowd.
“Obama is the first president that’s done so much regarding veterans,” said Angela Vasser-Cooper, of Nyack. Vasser-Cooper came out Tuesday night to show her support for the President and Senator Carlucci. She said that she believes the Democratic Party does much more to help returning veterans than the Republicans.
Currently Vasser-Cooper is a part of Senator Carlucci’s Veteran Advisory Committee, and is also a veteran herself. Vasser-Cooper served in Korea in the 1980s. She is also the founder and president of the Women Veterans Association of the Hudson Valley Inc.
No doubt the highlight of the night was when President Obama was declared to be the winner. Cheers and shrieks of joy went up from the crowd, as people hugged and high fived each other. Proclamations of happiness, astonishment, and “The system works,” could be heard in the crowd. More than a few tears of joy were shed before the night was up.
After the official election results came in, the newly elected candidates took the stage to each give a brief victory speech. The cheers and shouts of support from the crowd almost drowned out the speakers at some points.
Walking away from the party Tuesday night, one thing was clear: Rockland County Democrats are fired up and ready to make the most out of the next four years.
As for the Republican Party, loyal GOPers have been soul-searching about the presidential election they felt they had to win, as well as the direction of New York. The State Senate has fallen to the Democrats, partially due to a conservative backlash against Republican candidates that approved gay marriage.
Rockland County Chairman Vinny Reda said GOP members need to “regroup, dust themselves off and stand on their principles.” However, critics of the GOP establishment such as former gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino are calling the party’s loss in this election a watershed moment, imploring the faithful to reform the party.
Time will tell how the GOP regroups both nationally and in the state.
Not all was lost, Assemblywoman Annie Rabbitt kept her seat, which encompasses parts of Ramapo. Senator Bill Larkin won in his inaugural foray into Rockland County politics. His district is primarily in Orange County, but now also includes Stony Point and Haverstraw.