Guest Columns

Looking Forward to This Year’s Campaign and Engaging With Voters

We are part of The Trust Project

By Dr. Richard H. Becker

With the November presidential election still in our rear-view mirrors, it is difficult to believe that the 2021 campaign process is already well underway.

Local political parties have met, interviewed and selected their candidates. Petitioning, the process whereby candidates must collect signatures to be on the ballot, begins Mar. 2 and ends Mar. 22. Hence, it is already time that voters become engaged, learning about the candidates and issues. As Yogi Berra famously stated: “It is getting late, early.”

Therefore, I am writing to inform the greater Cortlandt community, including its important component villages of Croton-on-Hudson and Buchanan, of my candidacy for town supervisor. It is indeed an honor to have been selected by unanimous consent to head our Cortlandt team of Democratic candidates for local office. We have decided to run as a slate, sharing the same platform, with the singular purpose of moving Cortlandt Forward.

Our slate will consist of James Creighton (running to retain his Town Board seat); Cristin Jacoby, also for Town Board (a full-time working mother of two who serves on the Zoning Board of Appeals); Laroue Shatzkin (for a second term as town clerk); Debbie Carter (a Town Board member running for Receiver of Taxes); and Kimberly Ragazzo (seeking a second term as town judge). In addition to being the endorsed candidates for the Democratic Party, we are also honored to have the endorsement of the Working Families Party. 

My background can be summarized as follows: Although born and raised in Manhattan, I have lived my entire adult life in Westchester. I have practiced as a cardiologist, first at Hudson Valley Hospital, where I was honored to serve as president of the medical staff and as chairman of the Medical Board. Becoming more involved in administration, I established both the inpatient medical service (Hospitalist Group) as well as the outpatient Westchester Medical Practice.

In 2014, I was recruited to Phelps Memorial Hospital, where I served as vice president of physician services and established Phelps Medical Associates, an outpatient office-based medical group with 15 locations, from Dobbs Ferry to Croton-on-Hudson. With over 100 physicians and providers, and hundreds more professional staff, I was able to hone my management skills and style. Throughout all these endeavors, I have continued to practice cardiology, now in the multispecialty office I established in Croton-on-Hudson, adjacent to ShopRite.

I have always been an active participant in our Cortlandt community. As president of my local homeowners group, I was instrumental in preserving a large parcel for open space. Subsequently, I served on the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals. In 2007, I was elected to my current position of councilman. Recently, Supervisor Linda Puglisi appointed me to serve as her deputy supervisor, enabling me to prepare for the role of town supervisor. 

On a personal note, I met my wife, Terry, the summer before college. We have two wonderful adult children who were raised here in Cortlandt and attended Hendrick Hudson schools.

We cherish this community, feeling blessed to live our lives here, and to have the ability to pay forward these blessings.

You will be hearing from my Cortlandt colleagues in the coming weeks, and I look forward to engaging with many of you during this campaign.

Dr. Richard H. Becker is deputy supervisor in the Town of Cortlandt and a candidate for town supervisor.

We'd love for you to support our work by joining as a free, partial access subscriber, or by registering as a full access member. Members get full access to all of our content, and receive a variety of bonus perks like free show tickets. Learn more here.