The Life of Westchester’s Rob Astorino
On the road (in an election year) with the County Executive
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Every month, hundreds of invitations flood the offices of County Executive Rob Astorino: flag-raisings, banquets, church events, parades. This is why Astorino, 46, spends Sundays and many Saturdays in the front passenger seat of a black Chevy Tahoe as a plain-clothes police officer chauffeurs him from one event to another, an aide in tow to watch the clock and manage the social media and hold the framed proclamations his boss hands out at each event. Weekdays are for running the County, weekends for meeting the County. It’s a tight schedule with little margin for error, but it’s the part of the job Astorino says he likes best. “I set policy and oversee what’s going on and make tough decisions,” says the Mount Vernon native. “Part of the job is getting out, meeting different people. It’s a great opportunity to get feedback.”
On a Sunday in early spring, the eclectic schedule has an international accent. It starts with an appearance at the March of Dimes March for Babies at the Saxon Woods Park in White Plains. After a brief stop at home in Mount Pleasant, the C.E. (as his staff calls him) will proceed to a Little League opening day in Crestwood, a banquet at the Polish Community Center in downtown Yonkers, an Albanian flag raising at the Kensico Dam, finally wrapping up his official duties at the celebration of the 65th anniversary of Israeli Independence at the Westchester Day School in Mamaroneck.
The March of Dimes event has a carnival atmosphere. Hundreds of people mill about the Saxon Woods parking lot before the start of the fundraising walk. There are balloons, lots of strollers, cops in kilts, a guy in a Scooby Doo costume. Astorino arrives wearing khakis and a dark blue polo with the County Executive crest. He joins the current and former mayors of White Plains on a stage. The MC is a very enthusiastic local anchorwoman. The C.E. will repeat this routine throughout the day: Stand patiently, hands clasped in front of him, then say a few words—his speeches tend to be five minutes, tops—and depart, but not before posing for pictures and interviews. There is an art to a graceful exit, and he has mastered it.
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