The Ossining Democratic Committee Monday endorsed Village Trustee Rika Levin to run for the mayoral seat in November that is being vacated by Victoria Gearity.
Gearity announced last December that she would not be seeking a fourth two-year term. Levin currently serves as deputy mayor and has been on the Village Board since being appointed in 2015.
Levin, who has lived in Ossining for 27 years, is a graduate of Brandeis University and earned her MBA from the Stern School of Business at NYU. She spent more than 25 years in management, new product development, diversity management, and eventually Chief Marketing Officer in Fortune 100 companies in New York. She is currently in management at a large not-for-profit organization in Westchester.
Democratic district leaders also selected Trustee Manuel Quezada and Village Historian Dana White to run for two available trustee positions and Jeff Gasbarro for Village Justice.
Quezada, an Ossining High School graduate, is running for a second consecutive two-year term. He previously served as a trustee from 2012 to 2017. A married father of three, he works in the architectural field.
White, an Ossining resident since 1991, is a freelance writer and journalist. She is in her sixth year as Ossining Village Historian. She also serves on the Historic Preservation Commission, a village land use board, and is on the board of the Sing Sing Prison Museum project. She has served on the board of the Ossining Rotary Club and Ossining Matters, a parent support group to raises money for enrichment programs in the school district.
She said a highlight of her volunteerism was being a part of the Ossining Downtown Redevelopment Working Committee, a group of citizens who came together to forge new ideas for revitalizing the downtown. The committee’s final report received a 2018 Planning Achievement Award from the Westchester Municipal Planning Federation.
“I have been thinking about it for a while now,” she stated when asked why she decided to throw her hat in the political ring. “I worked on several campaigns and have been a district leader for the Ossining Town Democratic Committee, now in my sixth year. I did a lot of research on the suffrage movement last year and put together a big presentation on the history of women in politics. This was pretty inspiring. I gave a suffrage speech at an event held by State Assemblywoman Sandy Galef last fall at the historical society, and afterwards I asked for her advice on running for office.”
“When Mayor Gearity decided not to run for re-election this year, that opened up a spot on the board of trustees, since deputy mayor Rika Levin will be taking her place. So, I thought, carpe diem. Seize the day. I just turned 59, so what was I waiting for?” she added.
Some of the issues White hopes to focus on include supporting schools and keeping the lines of communication open, attracting more commercial businesses to shoulder the tax burden, and contributing her knowledge of village history to provide context as the village works on a new Comprehensive Plan.
It is unclear if the Ossining Republican Committee plans on running a slate this year.