City & State Magazine included MaryAnn Carr and former Congressman Mondaire Jones, who are both candidates in the 17th Congressional District. Liz Whitmer Gereghty, who served on the Katonah-Lewisboro Board of Education in The 17th Congressional District was highly publicized after the redistricting controversy. The Democrats were accused of inauspicious attempts at gerrymandering, which didn’t just erase the political advantage the party hoped to gain before state courts stepped in to stop them and appointed Special Master Jonathan Cervas. The move led to several Democratic seats being lost, causing Dems to lose control of the House. The New York-based seats are of particular interest to House Democratic leaders, given their Biden-friendly lean and proximity to House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries’ district.
One of the fallouts of the redistricting was that former DCCC head Sean Patrick Maloney decided he would run in Mondaire’s 17th district and Mondaire decided to run for the open seat in the 10th district. Both Congressmen lost. Now former Rep. Mondaire Jones launched a comeback bid for New York’s 17th District in July, seeking to return to Congress after redistricting led to him running unsuccessfully for a different seat last year.
Jones, who was elected in 2020 and served one term, opted not to run for reelection in the 17th District in the New York City suburbs last year after one of his Democratic colleagues, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, decided to run in the redrawn district. Maloney, who chaired the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee last cycle, lost to Republican Rep. Mike Lawler in November. Jones faces competition for the Democratic nomination to take on Lawler, but he represented much of the district when he previously was in the House.
The race for the seat is expected to be one of the most competitive in the country next year. Biden would have won the district by 10 points in 2020, and both parties view it as a priority as they fight for control of the House.
“Growing up, I didn’t see people like me in Congress. Then I was elected to represent the same people whose homes I watched my grandmother clean,” Jones says in a video announcing his campaign. “I have never been Washington’s choice because I stand up to corruption.”
When he was first elected, Jones made history as one of the first two openly gay men of color to be elected to Congress, and he was immediately endorsed on July 5, 2020, by the LGBTQ+ Victory Fund. For the first time, Westchester County had two Black Men representing them in Congress. The other is Congressman Jamaal Bowman who unseated longtime Congressman Rep. Elliot Engel to represent CD16.
Many residents of CD-17 were sad to see Jones not run for re-election in his district. In 2020, Mondaire was elected to Congress to represent the Hudson Valley. His colleagues unanimously elected him the youngest member of House leadership, and he was named the most legislatively active freshman in Congress.
Mondaire was part of the most productive Congress in modern history. He took on the pharmaceutical companies, lowering prescription drug prices for thousands of seniors on Medicare in the Lower Hudson Valley. He negotiated the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which is bringing tens of millions of dollars to rebuild our roads and bridges, and passed the American Rescue Plan Act, which kept our small businesses open and brought hundreds of millions of dollars to the Lower Hudson Valley for schools, housing, and health care.
Jones will face Liz Whitmer Gereghty, the Westchester County-based cousin of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, and former Bedford Supervisor MaryAnn Carr, the only two Democrats to announce so far. City & State Magazine wrote, “MaryAnn Carr has spent the longest time in government, sitting on the Bedford Town Council since 2016, although she lacks the name recognition of her rivals.”
While Carr may not have been elected a congress member like Jones or have a well-known cousin who serves as Governor like Gereghty, we have to disagree with City & State about Carr’s name recognition in Westchester County where it matters.
Actually, until City & State Magazine included her on the list as a congressional candidate, I did not know who she was, that she was running for congress, or that she was the cousin of the Michigan Governor. Many people of color in CD-17 are just hearing her name for the first time as well. (Since this article was published in the August 15, 2023, Six-Year Anniversary Issue, City & State updated their article.)
So who is MaryAnn Carr?
MaryAnn Carr made history as the first African American to serve in an elected office in local government in Bedford when she was elected in a special election on March 15, 2016, for an unexpired seat on the Town Board and elected to a full 4-year term beginning in 2018. MaryAnn was sworn in as Town of Bedford Supervisor, on Wednesday, January 6, 2021, after Chris Burdick’s election to the New York State Assembly created a vacancy in the seat of the Bedford Supervisor.
At their organizational meeting, the Bedford Town Board appointed Town Councilperson and Deputy Supervisor MaryAnn Carr to the position of Supervisor to fill out the term. She became the first and only African American to serve as Supervisor in Westchester County and only the second Black Female to run a municipality in the history of Westchester.
Before her historic appointment, Ms. Carr had a long tenure working on the Bedford Democratic Committee. She continues her long history of working hard to support the many community organizations in the Town of Bedford.
As former Chair of the Bedford Democratic Committee and the current First Vice-Chair of the Westchester County Democratic Committee, MaryAnn has always been dedicated to inclusivity and progress. Her councilwoman and Supervisor tenure in Bedford spurred transformative community change.
Some of MaryAnn’s notable achievements include leading the charge to elect the first Latino to the Bedford Town Board and the first woman of color to the Bedford Central School Board. During her tenure on the Town Board, twelve new affordable homes were built, and sewers were installed in the business districts of the two hamlets of Bedford (Bedford Hills and Katonah), one of the largest projects ever undertaken by the Town. She has been an avid supporter of criminal justice reform and founded the Town of Bedford Prison Advisory Committee, the only such committee known that advises local and state governments on prison relations matters. She made it a priority to recruit and appoint diverse members to serve on local committees, boards, and commissions where there had been a lack of diversity.
She has also been active in Bedford community organizations for many years: Town Board Liaison to Recreation and Parks, Planning Dept., Town Court, Bedford Central School District (BCSD), Chair, Community Organizations Committee, Active Parent Volunteer in Bedford Central School District (BCSD), Committee Member of Bedford 202 Food Forum, Board Member of Rehabilitation Through the Arts, member of the Bedford Antioch Church engaged in outreach programs for the Community Center in Katonah, and volunteering in a leadership role in the Gala Annual Event for the Martin Luther King Scholarship for Youth.
As far as name recognition, Carr can be seen at various Democratic events throughout the county and is well known for her support of various Democratic candidates and her work with the Westchester Black Women’s Political Caucus (WBWPC). It was her vision that helped her establish a Greater Bedford Chapter of the WBWPC for the northern part of the county.
When Democrat MaryAnn Carr threw her hat in the ring for the 17th Congressional District, she announced her candidacy to News 12’s Tara Rosenblum.
“I’m excited to be in this race. I think I bring a lot to the table,” she told Tara.
In her first interview as a candidate, the former Bedford Town Council member told News 12 why she decided to throw her hat in the ring in the hotly contested race that helped the Republicans flip control of the House last year.
“The reason I’m running is because I just feel like people like myself, who are working middle class, are not meeting the moment,” said the single working mom and a Westchester County information technology director.
While this has the feel of a heavily contested contest with a potentially crowded cast of candidates, this has been Black Westchester’s First Look at the 2024 17th Congressional District Race. Stay tuned to Black Westchester for further updates on the list of candidates!