Four candidates are running for two seats on the Cortlandt Town Board, each of which are for four-year terms and carry an annual salary of $22,792.
With Councilman Seth Freach calling it quits after one term, the lone incumbent in the race is Democratic Councilwoman Debra Carter-Costello, who is seeking a second term. Her running mate is James Creighton, who currently serves on the town’s Planning Board.
Looking to break up the Democratic stronghold on the board are two candidates on the “Cortlandt Together Team,” Mark Goodenow, Jr. and Glen Hockley, who have been endorsed by the Republican Committee.
Daughter of former Councilman Edward Carter, Debra Carter-Costello, who since May has been employed as a procurement specialist for Entergy, owner of the Indian Point nuclear power plants, said she hopes to build on the accomplishments the town has achieved during Cortlandt Supervisor Linda Puglisi’s administration.
“We have accomplished so much. We have many projects that are underway, and I (would) like to continue to see them to fruition,” she said. “As a resident of this community, I have a vested interest in ensuring that it continues to run well, and in a fiscally responsible manner. We have a great team that works well together.”
If reelected, Carter-Costello would like to bring more awareness to the community about children who are sexually abused. She said she is working with local experts and specialists from Westchester County to hold a forum for parents.
“I was shocked to find out how many people have been affected by this. It is more prevalent than you know because many don’t report their abuse,” she said. “If we can protect just one child from sexual abuse it’s worth it.”
An attorney, James Creighton served 15 years as a member and then chairman of the town’s Parks, Recreation and Conservation Advisory Board, helping to bring such new facilities as the youth center, dog park and hiking trails. He has been on the Planning Board for the last five years.
“I have been committed to making Cortlandt a better place for the last 20 years, and I have helped to plan for its future and to advocate on behalf of our community,” he said. “I bring unmatched experience to help keep our town moving forward with smart development that mitigates traffic, protects our environment, encourages business activity, keeps taxes low and expands recreation and housing choices for our young adults, seniors, veterans and working families.”
Expanding affordable housing choices for young adults and senior citizens is one area Creighton would like to address, along with ensuring Cortlandt plays a pivotal role in the decommissioning of the Indian Point plants.
“I believe that my proven experience working and fighting for the Town of Cortlandt over the last 20 years highlights my commitment to moving our town forward,” he said. “I know Cortlandt and its people well and understand the issues facing our town so I can tackle the challenges head-on from day one.”
An operations consultant for global airlines and manufacturers, Mark Goodenow is founder and leader of Power Through Cortlandt, a community organization formed to fight against all the adverse effects of Indian Point shutting down in the near future.
“The challenges facing the town with the pending Indian Point closure are not small issues that will go away without focused attention and a lot of work,” he said. “I decided to run because I believe my strategic approach, leadership style, financial background and work ethic are what the town needs to tackle these, and many other challenges.”
Having had three friends who lost children to drug overdoses, Goodenow said he would like to see the town take an active stance in the opioid epidemic battle. One way, he noted, would be increasing recreation options for youth.
“We need to stand as a community to combat this problem,” he said. “I’m always mindful of the financial impacts of decisions, but I also won’t sacrifice tomorrow for a benefit today. I also have a strong track record of ‘working across the aisle” to craft solutions and bring consensus.”
A real estate agent, Glen Hockley served eight years as a councilman in White Plains, an experience he said “has given me the tools to be an effective representative for the citizens of Cortlandt.”
“Having been a councilman for two terms at our Westchester County seat, White Plains, has given me a great deal of knowledge and insight into how to work well within a bipartisan government body, along with those elected officials on a county, state and even federal levels,” he said. “In addition, having a business background has given me an aptitude for making decisions that are common sense and pragmatic, opposed to political ones.”
If elected, Hockley said he would introduce legislation to form a citizen-based Ethics Board, propose term limits and call on the state to subsidize the town for the loss of property tax revenue from Indian Point. He also would like to create a new position in Town Hall called a Grant Coordinator and promote the idea of sponsorships by companies that would pay to have their logo and name “advertised in creative and clever ways.”
“As a municipality that is threatened financially, it is the duty of all town officials to be creative and come up with new ideas to protect the financial lives of the people that live here and that have trusted local government,” he said.