The 2012 elections may be 16 months away, but Larchmont resident Mark Rosen is once again eyeing the Republican nomination in a bid to unseat 12-term Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey.
The 49-year-old Connecticut native—who moved to Westchester about seven years ago— but in April when he learned his Army Reserve unit would be deployed to Afghanistan.
Rosen—a vice president at human resources firm Adecco—said the idea of running for Congress was born out of his frustration with tax-and-spend policies forwarded by Democrats and a lack of job creation and economic development in Westchester, New York and throughout the country.
"We are buying and spending and putting ourselves into debt that will have to be paid off by our kids," Rosen said this week. "I would rather avoid an economic Pearl Harbor."
His platform of cutting taxes and spending while facilitating private-sector growth hasn't changed much since his 2010 bid, but he said he gained new insights into America's economic problems while serving in Afghanistan, where he reviewed counterinsurgency strategies and personally briefed General David Petraeus, the commander of U.S. forces in the country who will soon become the director of the CIA.
"One of the buzz words in Afghanistan is 'sustainability’—sustainable security, police, economic development and governance. That notion enriched my perspective on attacking our problems here; our spending, pensions and medical costs are completely unsustainable," he said.
Rosen said Lowey—a Democrat first elected to the House in 1988—has spent her time in Washington rubber-stamping unsustainable policies and doing little to spark economic growth in the district, which includes most of Westchester and parts of Rockland.
"She touts bringing the bacon back to New York, but those are crumbs designed to get reelected," he said. "We spent so many millions of dollars on projects compared to the very few jobs the projects actually created."
Matt Dennis, a spokesperson for Lowey, declined to address Rosen's criticisms, saying only, "the next election is 16 months away [and] Congresswoman Lowey is focused on growing the economy and creating jobs."
Rosen said he plans on running a campaign that will appeal to Democratic and independent voters. The strategy is necessary; Democrats outnumber Republicans in the 18th Congressional district by an almost 2-to-1 margin.
"I truly believe there is a new consensus emerging in Westchester and in New York focused on economic growth and global competitiveness," he said, adding that the election of Republicans like County Executive Rob Astorino and Congresswoman Nan Hayworth, who represents the 19th district, is proof the GOP can make inroads in the relatively liberal region.
Last year, Lowey defeated Republican nominee Jim Russell, a computer programmer and conservative Christian activist from Hawthorne. Russell's campaign suffered from a lack of funds and a controversy over a 2001 article he authored that discourages interracial relationships.
"Nita Lowey has not had a real challenge for many, many years," said Rosen.
While Rosen won't officially kick off his campaign until next year, he's already looking to build up his campaign coffers. His first fundraiser will take place Friday night in Briarcliff, where he'll be joined by Hayworth, a freshman who was swept into office during the GOP's takeover of the House last year.