WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Standing with his wife and three sons in downtown Katonah on Tuesday, Joe Dillon announced his candidacy in the 37th state Senate district.
Dillon, a Yonkers Republican who has financial experience, is seeking to unseat incumbent Rye Democrat George Latimer.
In his remarks, Dillon blasted the state's current tax climate and noted Westchester County's property tax burden.
“New York is last where it should be first and first where we should be last,” he said. Dillon was also critical of the state's regulatory climate, arguing that it is not business friendly.
Regarding education policy, Dillon also called for repealing Common Core and wants state aid to be reallocated, claiming that the aid formula benefits upstate school districts.
“Successive, big-government approaches with questionable motivation have failed our kids and are not the path forward,” he said. “While the notion of standards has clear merits, we must fight any attempt to nationalize curriculum. Our kids should not be pawns in some grand experiment.”
Touching on state government ethics, Dillon called Albany the “Capital of Corruption” and voiced support for term limits for state lawmakers. Additionally, Dillon supports forfeiture of benefits such as pensions for corrupt politicians.
In an interview following his announcement, Dillon discussed his background. For about 10 years (1993-03) he worked at AIG, where he was involved with free trade. This was followed by a stint in the U.S. Treasury Department, where he worked as chief of staff to the undersecretary of domestic finance.
Dillon then worked at Visa, where he was involved in international government affairs, before returning to AIG in 2007. His second stint, however, came during a tumultuous period for the company. AIG, a major insurance company, made headlines in 2008 and 2009 due to its financial-crisis federal bailout and government takeover. Dillon was then laid off and left in 2009 and says his severance was taken. He is critical about how the matter was handled, likening his then-employer to being used as an “ATM machine” for other banks.
Since leaving AIG, Dillon has served as a consultant to several high-profile Republican politicians, including Texas Gov. Rick Perry, for Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, and for several business sectors, including in banking, construction and renewable energy.
Brian Hegt, Latimer's campaign manager, issued a critical statement hours later.
“Joe Dillon has done political consulting for Washington politicians like Newt Gingrich and other partisan players that have contributed to the Washington political gridlock,” he stated. “That's exactly what we don't need more of in Albany. George Latimer's career has balanced business and public service -- starting at the local level; he isn’t interested in creating more partisan gridlock. George has voted for four consecutive on time, bi-partisan budgets and delivered more education funding to every school district in Westchester this past year. He's been successful in getting real results for Westchester residents, and that's why people have voted for him in the past. George Latimer has a strong record of bi-partisan accomplishment and the voters will see the choice clearly by Election Day.”
The 37th state Senate district includes Bedford, North Castle, Rye, Port Chester, Harrison, Rye Brook, Mamaroneck, Larchmont, Bronxville, Tuckahoe, Eastchester, along with parts of Yonkers and New Rochelle.