With the Yorktown Republican Committee having already unveiled its slate of candidates for the November election, the Yorktown Democratic Committee is currently looking to put together a winning combination to try to reverse the recent GOP dominance.
Democratic Committee Chairman Ron Stokes said district leaders will formally nominate candidates April 21 at 7 p.m. at the Yorktown Community and Cultural Center.
“Run quality candidates who get the message to the voters that it’s not the job of government to sell out to every private profit-maker in town, but instead to determine what is in the interest of the whole public (not just the business elite) and serve that interest,” Stokes said in response to a question about what the Democrats need to do to change their fortunes.
To date, Melvyn Tanzman, a political newcomer, is the lone candidate who has emerged to challenge three-term Supervisor Michael Grace, but three familiar faces have stepped forward to express interest in the two available four-year term Town Board seats.
Incumbent Councilman Vishnu Patel, who came up short in his bid to oust Grace two years ago, is the lone Democrat on the board and is looking to win a third term. The other two hopefuls who have thrown their hat in the ring are former supervisor and councilwoman Susan Siegel and former town justice Ilan Gilbert.
Siegel served two years as supervisor before being defeated by Grace in 2011. She was elected to the Town Board in 2014 to fill the unexpired term of Dave Paganelli after Paganelli was elected highway superintendent but she and Gilbert lost in the 2015 election to councilmen Tom Diana and Ed Lachterman.
“I’m running for a town council position because I want to get Yorktown back on the right track,” Siegel said. “Having had the honor of serving as supervisor and councilwoman, I know that an elected official’s first and most important job is representing Yorktown’s residents, not developers. I want stronger, not weaker laws that protect our environment and quality of life. The Town Board should be encouraging and helping small businesses, not giving unnecessary tax breaks to Fortune 100 companies. We need a Town Board that can establish priorities; for me paving our roads comes before building more athletic fields or replacing a still serviceable highway garage.”
“Above all, I believe that elected officials should listen to and respect the opinions of their constituents,” she added. “We can legitimately disagree on issues, but there’s no excuse for the arrogance, lack of civility and disrespect that unfortunately has become the norm at Town Board meetings.”
Stokes confirmed the Democrats currently have no candidates lined up to challenge Paganelli or Westchester County Legislator John Testa, but Aviah J. Pierson is looking to possibly follow in the footsteps of her father, former Town Justice and current State Supreme Court Judge Jeffrey Cohen.
Besides Grace and Paganelli, the Yorktown Republicans endorsed Councilman Greg Bernard and financial planner Robert Puff for Town Board and incumbent Town Justice Sal Lagonia.
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