Meet the new guy: Legislator Barry Kantrowitz pledges to help fix Rockland

BY MICHAEL RICONDA

Picture 8New City – Barry Kantrowitz, a New City attorney with a long career in public service, took the seat left behind by now County Executive Ed Day for a yearlong stint as a county legislator and seems to have big plans.

“I think I can help this county,” Kantrowitz said. “I have the experience to do it and I felt I would be a good candidate for the position.”

Kantrowitz, who does not have as much name recognition in Legislative District 5 as his predecessor, hopes to begin his political career by reaching out to constituents in both Clarkstown and Ramapo. This is particularly relevant given he has already decided to run for office next fall and has only a short time to impress District 5’s electorate.

“I already have a taste for government and I already have a taste for community service,” Kantrowitz optimistically stated shortly after his appointment. “I think the politics part will fall right in.”

The new legislator’s goals are still very broad, but fall in line with concerns voiced by county residents. Kantrowitz specifically singled out the county’s fiscal crisis as a matter that impacts public education, property values, taxes and quality of life and “needs to be addressed.”

“The idea of providing the services that people want in a more efficient and cost-effective manner is a serious concern,” Kantrowit said.

Though District 5 covers only a small area of Ramapo, Kantrowitz also voiced a desire to aid the East Ramapo Central School District. County legislators are limited in their ability to manage district affairs, but he did explain he was working with state representatives to bring state assistance to the beleaguered district while also bringing some reconciliation to the religious and ethnic divides marring relations in Ramapo.

“The school district is a state education issue, but that doesn’t mean that there’s not a role for someone to step in and try to help give the concerned families, the legitimately concerned families of public school students, a voice on the state level,” Kantrowitz said.

Before his first foray into politics, Kantrowitz, a New City resident for 15 years, followed in his father’s footsteps by serving as a partner at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer, and Graifman P.C. In this role, he worked primarily on personal injury, professional malpractice and corporate and complex commercial dispute cases.

In addition to his work as an attorney, he has also served as a past president of JCC of Rockland, where he assisted in the group’s acquisition of its West Nyack campus, and on the board of the JCC Association of North America, where he held a national leadership role.