Last November’s election was a wakeup call for a lot of citizens. The same is true for Kitley Covill.
She quickly realized that what she characterized as poor representation within the communities northeast Westchester County that comprise the Board of Legislators’ District 2, it was important for her to run for the district’s seat.
“The November election made us all ask ourselves what we can do to be better and do better, and I found that people didn’t know who represented them,” said Covill, a Katonah Democrat. “When I then further examined the record of the first-time incumbent, I found we weren’t getting the vigorous representation we should be getting at the county level.”
As an attorney, Covill, 63, who started her career as a Nassau County assistant district attorney, said she’s the best person to represent the county.
She has also worked in the district attorney’s office, as assistant chief deputy county attorney in charge of the Family Court Bureau and Inspector General in Yonkers.
“I’ve worked in and around county and municipal government my whole life,” she said. “I feel this is a position where I am the most well-suited, having looked at municipal budgets and having worked for the county and other municipalities.”
While Covill said she would never vote to increase taxes more than 2 percent, the current administration’s position of refusing to raise taxes is an unsustainable way to run government. She added that parks, sewers and water quality have suffered as a result of the county’s failure to invest in valuable assets for its communities.
“It’s a shell game to say that we’re so fabulous,” she said. “It’s trumpeting something that is an illusion.”
She also added how Bedford’s sewers have suffered and are in need of funding, asserting that she will advocate to have the county release the appropriate funds to take care of the district’s water resources.
Covill said municipalities must find better ways to share services, including with law enforcement, equipment and the installation of solar panels on county property to streamline more energy to the grid. Town officials should also take better advantage of the county’s Planning Department, she said.
After the county lost money fighting for affordable housing, Covill said she will advocate for the restoration of those funds in order to provide necessary resources to residents, stating how critical it is to have affordable housing available for young families moving into the county.
With officials currently looking into selling Westchester County Airport to a private entity, Covill said unloading the county’s last major asset that is still in use to fill a short-term budget problem is wrong. Any increased use of the airport could trigger environmental and noise problems, she said.
“If we want to improve the airport we have money to do so and we should be using it as it’s intended,” Covill said. “Purpose driven assets that turn to profit driven isn’t a good way to deal with money. My biggest problem with this deal is that it’s (the airport) very hard to contain once we have allowed for a profit-driven entity to take over. It’s not the appropriate thing to do with this airport.”
In the wake of the vetoes Immigrant Protection Act, Covill said officials should gather opinions from law enforcement leaders and police unions to ensure their input is included in any future legislation. The immigrant population must also be better educated on their rights so they feel safer reporting crimes.
“I think there’s nothing law enforcement dislikes more than fuzzy wuzzy politicians,” she said. “I think it’s much easier for a guy out there risking his life to know what their parameters are, especially in the immigrant community.”
Covill said the County Center should also be off limits to future gun shows, stating that hosting the show on county property sends the wrong message.
In order to boost communication throughout District 2, which includes Mount Kisco, Bedford, Lewisboro, Pound Ridge, North Salem and parts of Somers, Covill said she would visit each of the six municipalities monthly in order to speak with residents and listen to their needs. Covill criticized incumbent Republican Legislator Francis Corcoran for not being a more active part of the community.
“It’s the best way to stay in touch with people,” she said. “We have lost some of that nonpartisan conversation and I don’t think it helps to be divisive. We get much more when we have a dialogue, when we have transparency and when we find out where we have common ground.”