Thirteen months after leaving office, former Yorktown Supervisor Ilan Gilbert is looking to make a comeback as a member of the Town Board.
The Yorktown Democratic Committee announced over the weekend it has endorsed Gilbert and five-term incumbent Councilman Vishnu Patel to run for two available seats in November. Councilwoman Alice Roker has decided not to seek reelection when her four-year term ends this year.
“The Yorktown Democratic Committee is proud to announce a strong slate of candidates for this 2021 campaign season, including both current and former incumbents to local politics. All are experienced, tested, and highly active members of the Yorktown community,” the Democrats stated in a release. “Recognizing the current balanced representation on the Yorktown Town Board, the Yorktown Democratic Committee has selected candidates with the critical experience and sense of community necessary to move forward from COVID isolation to normalcy.”
“Already, my decision has met with enormous support from people all over town. I’m ready for the challenges of our town and look forward to working collaboratively with the other members of the Town Board,” he said. “I’ve lived and raised my family in Yorktown for the past 29 years. And I love the town and because of that love and commitment I have served the community in many different ways. Most recently as Town Supervisor I was able to implement infrastructure improvements, increase our sources of income, bring transparency, address the town’s economic vibrancy while caring for the environment, parks, and future branding of the town.”
“Many of my initiatives have moved forward this year and yet there is still more to do. More so with the devastation brought down on us by the COVID-19 pandemic,” he added. “We can still grow our business and residential base, continue to reduce our carbon footprint and maintain the beauty and quality of life for all.”
When asked if he considered a rematch with Slater, Gilbert said his commitments as an Administrative Law Judge for the Westchester County Health Department and a Commissioner for the New York State Bridge Authority would prevent him from being able to be a full-time supervisor.
“The Yorktown Council seat enables me to continue to be of service to the town I love while meeting my commitments to the county and state,” Gilbert said.
Mark Lieberman, co-chair of the Yorktown Democratic Committee, explained the party’s decision not to nominate a challenger to Slater.
“The YDC decided that, in this time of division and uncertainty, consistency in the leadership of the town seemed a wise course,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Patel, who has been a mainstay on the board for the last 20 years, is looking to continue his service to the town.
A resident of the town for 48 years, Patel was a decorated scientist at IBM for 36 years who played an integral role in the creation of the Watson robot. In 2011, he was honored as Inventor of the Year by the Eastern New York Intellectual Property Law Association.
He is proud of his work advising local science students with their projects and is an active volunteer with local Scout groups.
“Both Gilbert and Patel are compassionate, thoughtful, and driven. They both believe that residents need to be provided with as much information as possible, and that everyone deserves to have their voices heard,” the Democratic Committee stated.
Lieberman said Roker, who spent 25 years as town clerk in Yorktown before retiring in 2015, wanted to thank the community for its support and said she was looking forward to her next “big adventure.”
Slater, a Republican, said he was disappointed Roker would be leaving the board.
“She’s been a great partner. Very helpful to me in my first term,” he said.
The Democrats also nominated Aviah Cohen Pierson to run for town justice. If elected, she would be the first woman to serve as town justice in Yorktown. Currently the Chief Legal Officer at ENT and Allergy Associates, Cohen Pierson unsuccessfully sought the position in 2017.
Slater said the Republican Committee is expected to release its slate of candidates in early February.