New Year’s Day was a day of pride and ambition as friends, family and elected officials gathered at the Ossining Community Center to celebrate the inauguration of their local and state officials.
Following an exhaustive election season, Ossining village and town officials took the stage at the community center last week to officially be sworn in to serve their next term. While all have previously served in their respective positions, the five elected officials looked to the future with confidence and determination.
“Ossining has much to be optimistic about,” Ossining Mayor Victoria Gearity said. “One thing this most recent election accomplished was declaring a vision for the village. In 2019, the village of Ossining will build on its strengths as a diverse and historic Hudson River village with an emerging entrepreneurial community.”
Gearity, who will serve her third term, discussed her desire to move Ossining forward by reevaluating the housing needs assessment and creating comprehensive plan. Gearity also intends to establish a diversity, equity, and inclusion committee to help better serve the entire community.
“We are at a moment when people are investing in our community,” Gearity said. “We have a clear set of recommendations to set us on a path to a thriving community for all.”
Incumbent board member Rika Levin and former board member Manuel Quezada also took their oath of office to join Gearity on the Village Board. Both officials discussed their goals for the future, stressing the need to make Ossining a more accessible community for every resident.
Levin said she hopes to build on the positive initiatives the board resolved last year, adding that her focus will be on highlighting the community center and parks as gathering spaces for youth, seniors and the entire community. She also discussed ideas to benefit the environment.
“Ossining speaks volumes for how things can be done when we listen to the people in the community,” Levin said.
Following her appointment to the Ossining Town Board last year after former Councilwoman Kim Jeffrey vacated her position, Councilwoman Jackie Shaw was surrounded by her family as she was sworn in to serve her first official term. Shaw noted that her first year on the board was all about growth, asserting that she plans to spend the next year listening and helping her constituents.
“It’s been an incredible year for me,” Shaw said. “Last year I was appointed, this year I was elected. Elected is way better.”
Assemblywoman Sandy Galef (D-Ossining), who has served 12 consecutive terms in her position, cited several state initiatives she hopes to tackle with the election resulting in a Democratic majority in the Assembly and State Senate. Galef said she hopes to increase foundation aid funding for the Ossining School District, see passage of the Child Victims Act, advance healthcare, voting and women’s protection rights and terminate pay-to-play.
Galef, who was sworn in by her children and grandchildren, added that the state would be faced with several high-profile issues, including the controversy surrounding state and local tax (SALT) deductions and recreational marijuana.
“We have to keep working and try to make things come into effect,” Galef said. “I look forward to 2019 and I hope we do great things for all of you and al of the constituents in the state of New York.”