Mt. Kisco’s First Latin Village Board Member Sworn in at Ceremony

We are part of The Trust Project
Karine Patino takes the oath of office, administered by Village Justice Mark Farrell, on Sunday on the steps of Mount Kisco Village Hall. Patino becomes the first Latin to hold public office in the municipality’s history.

History was made Sunday afternoon in Mount Kisco as the first Latin member of the community was sworn into office as a village trustee in a ceremony in front of Village Hall.

Karine Patino, 34, an attorney who has lived her entire life in Mount Kisco, was born after her parents immigrated to the United States from Ecuador. She will sit for her first meeting Monday night along with fellow newcomer Anne Bianchi, two Democrats who both ran unopposed for the board last month.

In a village that is now 42 percent Latinx, the significance of her accomplishment wasn’t lost on Patino.

“It’s time. It’s time for us to be heard, it’s time for us to have our seat at the table, it’s time for that representation that knows our story, that knows what it is to live this experience, this immigrant experience,” said Patino, who specializes in criminal and immigration law and who served on Westchester’s Police Reform and Reimagining Task Force.

Growing up in Mount Kisco in the 1990s, she saw new community members from other Latin countries grow. However, she pointed out that her constituency is not only those of Hispanic heritage but all residents.

“There’s a lot of history here,” she continued. “But I’m not only representing the Hispanic population, I’m representing Mount Kisco, the kids who went to Mount Kisco Elementary School, that graduated from Fox Lane High School and are coming back home because we want to live here. We want to afford to live here, too. So that will be one of my biggest missions.”

Patino joined the Putnam County Legal Aid in 2017, volunteered for Neighbors Link and worked with the village’s old police department that trained officers in cultural competency.

Neighbors Link Executive Director Carola Bracco said having Patino on the Village Board is an important step for a municipality that has become increasingly diverse in recent decades.

“We are seeing in this the next step in integration, the next step in more community members having a voice,” Bracco said. “I think it’s really important to note that no one person can speak to a whole community of people, but Karine is blazing a trail that makes room for more voices. She is creating another opportunity for us to listen and learn from a more diverse perspective, the perspective of the people whose families came to Mount Kisco from another country and the perspective of people who have an entrepreneurial and immigrant spirit.”

New village Trustee Anne Biacnhi addresses the crowd at Sunday’s swearing-in ceremony in Mount Kisco.

Among the local, county and state dignitaries that attended the ceremony was Yonkers City Court Judge Thomas Quinones, who last month was elected to state Supreme Court to serve in the 9th Judicial District. He also was the first Latin to be elected to both seats.

Quinones said that Patino has the passion for public service and serving her community and is confident she will do well in her new role.

“While I’m proud of all these firsts, how proud would it be to not to have to celebrate these firsts because they’re no longer worthy of mention because we would be part of every single aspect of government and life and all the things that reflect and represent us,” Quinones said. “I hope that my children and Karine’s daughter will live in a better and more inclusive world.”

Bianchi, 61, a criminal defense attorney who works for the Westchester County Legal Aid Society, moved to the village 36 years ago from Long Island to raise her family. A longtime member of the Mount Kisco Democratic Committee, she said she was up to the challenge to contribute to the community in a different way.

“I just want to participate, really, is what it comes down to,” Bianchi said. “This is a wonderful place and I just want to do something positive for it.”

Also sworn in was new Village Justice Anthony Markus. He served for about 15 years over two different stints on the Village Board.

Markus will resign from the Village Board this month and the remaining members will appoint a replacement to fill the remaining year on his term, said Mayor Gina Picinich.

All three new officeholders were sworn in by Village Justice Mark Farrell.

Share

Enjoy our local journalism here at The Examiner News? Then also join Examiner+, delivering additional bonus content straight to your inbox six days per week.