Rockland County Legislator Harriet Cornell made it official
at Monday night’s meeting that she was not seeking re-election to the position
of chairperson. Cornell, who has held that post since 2005, is the first woman
to serve as the legislature’s chairperson. She will continue as a legislator.
A legislator since 1984, Cornell spoke about the legislature’s accomplishments during her tenure as chairperson in developing a comprehensive plan for the county, addressing demographic shifts and an aging population as well as the creation of the Rockland County Health Facilities Corporation to handle the potential sale of the Summit Park Nursing Care Center and Summit Park Hospital. She spoke about her collaborative efforts to safeguard adults and children from domestic violence and abuse.
Cornell, who represents District 10, said despite the financial downturn and three years of seeking assistance from the state in dealing with the growing budget deficit, the county fulfilled its basic responsibilities to residents to provide for their health, safety and welfare.
“During the last nine years we have experienced some of the most difficult economic times in the county’s history,” she said. “We made difficult painful choices and we are beginning to see the signs of improvement. But too many of our residents suffered the loss of jobs, the loss of services and even the loss of homes. As a legislator I will continue to make their welfare one of my top priorities.”
Cornell said she would also continue to lead the fight so the county has a safe, and sustainable water supply for the future. She repeated her opposition to the proposed Hudson River desalination plant but noted the county must develop a comprehensive water plan. Cornell thanked her fellow legislators, the legislative staff and former County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef.