BY DYLAN SKRILOFF
Tells Rockland County Times she will run for reelection; faces four-way GOP primary for District 99
Calhoun, whose district is mostly in Orange County but has represented Stony Point for 10 of her 11 terms in office, had not made a public statement acknowledging her candidacy as yet. However, she has been appearing at committee meetings seeking endorsements from party members of the GOP as well as the Conservative and Independence lines.
“I’m running again because there’s a lot of things that still need help– the current governor is doing a lot of right things, as far as keeping tax downs. This governor took away the MTA tax on small business up to $1.5 million but we still need to take it off municipalities and hospitals,” she said.
Calhoun faces fierce resistance within her own party this year as three other candidates have announced they are running in the GOP primary. The candidates are 21-year-old self-described reformist and founder of the New Dawn PAC Colin Schmitt, son of former Rockland County Legislator Frank Fornario Sr. Blooming Grove Town Supervisor Frank Fornario Jr., and the 26-year-old Mayor of Goshen Kyle Roddy.
The 26-year-old Mayor of Walden Brian Maher originally planned to take on Calhoun but was shifted to another race due to redistricting.
Calhoun conceded that the reason for the eager challengers may be the stories reported in the NY Post, Rockland County Times and other media about her receiving her pension while still in office. She also said the fact she’s been around a long time might make her look like a ripe target. Earlier in the campaign season, there were rumors that Calhoun would not seek reelection at all.
Calhoun defended her choice to take a pension, stating that life insurance policies for veteran lawmakers are not great compared to those for up and comers. She also said that because she cashed in her pension early the state no longer has to pay into the pension fund for her and she will receive a smaller payout for the length of her life. Past media reports have noted that unless Calhoun lives past 95 years of age, she will profit from taking her pension early.
She also noted the state will save money the longer she hangs around, because they will not have to simultaneously pay her health benefits and the new official’s health benefits.
Calhoun’s district has changed this year due to redistricting. The towns of Montgomery and Crawford have been removed and the towns of Hamptonburgh, Goshen and Wawayanda have been added. Other towns in the district include Blooming Grove, Chester, Cornwall, Highlands, New Windsor, Woodbury, and the Town of Stony Point.
In all the population in the district has dropped from approximately 138K to 133.4K and the number of potential voters has dropped from approximately 78.8K voters to 76.5K.