BY MICHAEL RICONDA
NEW CITY – Congressional candidate for New York’s 17th District Chris Day began his campaign with a kickoff event at Mizu Hibachi in New City on Monday night, drawing personal and monetary support from local Republicans and others who wish to see a fresh face representing their district’s interests in Washington.
Speaking to attendees both in-person and through a short stump speech, Day reiterated his stated goal of bringing Washington’s support to the Lower Hudson Valley, a benefit which he said has been neglected for decades.
“We don’t have to settle anymore,” Day told his backers. “We don’t have to be happy with what we get.”
Day began his camaign on February 22 with a video announcement and has built his momentum since then by shoring up grassroots support in both Rockland and Westchester. His platform, which focuses largely on addressing local needs as an independent Republican, seems to have already resonated with Republican leadership, who have decided to let him run uncontested by other primary candidates.
On issues such as HUD involvement in Westchester zoning, RLIUPA regulations in Rockland, Common Core, federal grants for the new Tappan Zee Bridge and federal funding for local infrastructure, Day stated he was more sensitive to local needs than Lowey, a 30 year Democrat who he characterized as needlessly partisan and far removed from Rocklanders’ concerns.
“I’d like to actually take positive steps to compromise and achieve things when we get there and really represent the district,” Day explained to the Rockland County Times.“I’m going through the same things [Rocklanders] go through and I’m dealing with the same things in life,” Day said
Day also took time to outline his qualifications in private equity, his education at Yale and Columbia and his service in Iraq and Afghanistan. Readying himself for an international role, he even spoke on the developing situation in Ukraine and Lowey’s criticism that he has no experience with an invading army or international affairs.
“I’m pretty sure I have some,” Day quipped, referencing his military service.
Day found broad support from local leadership even before he announced his run. Rockland County Republican Chairman and former State Vice Chair Vincent Reda, who has known Day since his time on the party’s committee, explained Day earned attention for both his resume and his experience managing his father Ed Day’s succcessful county executive campaign.
“He really made his mark with the Republican party, certainly in becoming highly visible within the party ranks by running a very successful race for his dad who had only one major line,” Reda said. “To me, he’s a dream candidate for any chairman.”
Jeffrey Oppenheim, the mayor of Montebello and another favorite for the nomination before he declined to focus on his professional life, also lauded Day for his potential to give Rockland a greater voice in Washington by unseating Lowey.
“We’re very lucky, especially in Rockland County, to have a candidate from Rockkland County,” Oppenheim said. “That’s something the county needs to pay attention to because we haven’t been represented by someone in Congress who lives in our county in so many decades that I don’t think annybody can even remember.”
However, political supporters were not the only ones who showed suppport. Day, a single father, was also joined at the event by his four year old son and his fiance Jennifer Moccio, who spoke of his eagernness and ability to manage his obligations as a father, a husband-to-be, a businessman and a rising political personality.
“It’s a quick turnaround time and now he’s running it while he’s working full time and being a dad and a fiance to be,” Moccio said. “So far so good.”
Day has already scheduled his first major Westchester event for mid-March, after which he will likely follow-up with a similar campaign in his home county.m Day is an Ivy-League graduate and a recipient of the Bronze Star.