Well what can we say about 2018? It’s been real. I could probably write a series of books on All The Presidents Mess alone. But since you can get that on any other media outlet, we put together five important political story in 2018 that we covered in Black Westchester.
It was hard to pick only five from everything that went down in 2018, we selected five stories that were history in the making and effected the Political landscape in The 914.
Enjoy and please feel free to leave your feedback in the comment section or tell us what your top 5 political stories in 2018 were.
MAYOR THOMAS -VS- THE NEW YORK STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL
Mount Vernon Mayor Richard W. Thomas lived in the headlines in 2018, with a long list of court case and lawsuits, the continued Civil War in City Hall – his highly publicized battles with the City Council and the Comptroller. One of the biggest political stories in 2018 was the New York State Attorney General’s corruption case against Mayor Richard Thomas. Starting with Mayor Thomas being arrested and arraigned on corruption charges from the New York State Attorney General’s office. This was the story that kept on giving between all the court appearances, the mayors office challenging the authority of the NYS AG’s office to investigate him, the resignation of New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman shortly after and Mayor Thomas calling for an investigation of Schneiderman and a Supreme Court Justice denying Mayor Thomas’ attempt to block the AG’s investigation. on day 1049 of his term, Mayor Thomas rejected a plea deal and his lawyers called the deal unconstitutional, both sides are due back in court on Tuesday, January 18, 2019. Countless court cases, Memorial Field, his arrest, arraignment, indictment and maintaining his innocence through it all as he fights his case, was just a sample of the corruption case of Mayor Thomas that dominated both the media and social media in 2018.
SEN. ANDREA STEWART COUSINS BREAKS THE GLASS CEILING
When lawmakers return to Albany in January, formally allowing Democrats to take control of the Senate, Sen. Stewart-Cousins will become the first woman, and the first African-American woman, to lead a New York legislative chamber, the New York Times reported. Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousin triumphed over challenger, Westchester County Legislator Virginia Perez in the state Senate District 35 Democratic primary. Since the beginning of her political career, she faced two strikes against her: Being black in a predominantly white male dominant political system and being a woman in a historical system. Through it all, the disrespectful racial remarks and the formation of the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference, a renegade group of eight Democrats who collaborate with Republicans, Senator Stewart-Cousins remained unscathed. She continued to chip away from the glass ceiling of the New York State Legislature, even though it seems they have stacked the chips against her. She remained strong throughout the adversity while remaining regal throughout, she is the embodiment of beauty in the struggle. Now she has finally shattered the Glass Ceiling, cementing her place in Her-Story!
1ST ANNUAL WESTCHESTER BLACK POLITICAL CONFERENCE
An exciting new political conference took place in Westchester County, Saturday, February 10th, the Westchester Black Political Convention (WBPC). The WBPC recognizes that our county has become both a more diverse yet unequal county. To be recognized as one of the wealthiest counties in the nation, policymakers face the urgent challenge of confronting growing wealth gaps by race and ethnicity.
The goal of Westchester Black Political Convention is to create a more equitable and secure future for communities of color through public policy. They believe, we must shift away from public policies that fuel and exacerbate racial disparities in wealth, housing, education, economic development and criminal justice and mobilize our community to endorse and employ public policies that empower communities of color.
Just under 100 community stakeholders, politicians, residents and members of several organizations such as the White Plains/Greenburgh, Peekskill, Mount Vernon, Yonkers, Spring Valley, Nyack and New Rochelle branches of the NAACP, WESPAC, The Urban League of Westchester, Martin Luther King, Jr. Institute for Nonviolence, Westchester Coalition For Police Reform, LHVPAN, Westchester Corrections Association, Westchester/Rockland Guardians Association, League of Women Voters, Peekskill Board of Education, The Nation of Islam, Indivisible Westchester, Indivisible New Rochelle, Indivisible NY, EffectNY, Westchester Chapter of The National Association of Black Social Workers, Westchester Children’s Association just to name a few gathered at the WESPAC Office located at 77 Tarrytown Rd. in White Plains to take part in the historical gathering.
GEORGE LATIMER TAKES OFFICE
Former State Senator George Latimer was sworn in Monday, January 1, 2018 as Westchester County Executive. Latimer, a Rye Democrat who defeated two-term incumbent Republican Rob Astorino in November 2017. Although local pollsters showed Latimer up just three points in late October, Westchester’s democratic candidate won 57% of the vote in the actual election. Latimer wasted no time making changes and keeping campaign promises including signing the highly publicized Immigrant Protection Act which Democratic Legislators passed for the second time. Legislators previously passed, August 7, 2017 but was vetoed by Astorino ten days later. In a promise to bring more diversity to County government, Latimer appointed former County Legislator Ken Jenkins (D-Yonkers) as Deputy County Executive, making him the first African-American DCE in Westchester.
Latimer, 64, has spent the past 30 years in public office, serving as a Rye councilman, county legislator, state assemblyman and state senator. He is the ninth county executive since the position was created 80 years ago, but only the third Democrat. His inauguration ceremony on Jan. 7th at Westchester Community College was standing room only and full of a whose who in Westchester and New York State political circles.
ANDRE RAINEY MAKES HISTORY AS YOUNGEST MAYOR OF PEEKSKILL
Andre K. Rainey affectionately known to many as “Noodle Noo”� was sworn-in as the youngest Mayor in Peekskill history at a ceremony at Peekskill’s City Hall, Jan. 1, 2018, making history again. Rainey was elected the youngest City Councilman in the City of Peekskill in 2015 is now be the youngest Mayor of the city at the age of 33. Vanessa Agudelo at the age of 25 has now broke Rainey record and is now the youngest City Council in the city of Peekskill.
“For too many years now Peekskill has been led by a mayor whose approach to governing is to threaten, intimidate and divide the City. This approach is detrimental to our city, as it is our country. It does nothing to address crime, it does nothing to address litter, it does nothing to enhance our parks and roads, and it does nothing to build community,”� Rainey shared on the People Before Politics Radio Show. “My message to Peekskill is this: I will bring a new approach to City Hall that you can be proud of. One that fosters collaboration and community, so that our City can be successful and not hamstrung by one man’s ego and temperament.”�
On the Council, Rainey helped bring new business and development to Peekskill, including projects currently under construction with more than 200 market rate apartments, a spa, the new mall that has finally replaced the burned out lot on East Main Street, as well as numerous new businesses and restaurants throughout the City. He has been working diligently to rectify massive water rate hikes that property owners were surprised with this past year, and successfully reconstituted the Human Relations Commission, despite numerous obstacles and delays emanating from City Hall.
His inauguration and first public meeting at City Hall was followed by a Post-Swearing-In Reception at Division Street Grill located at 26 N Division Street. Mayor Rainey will be the keynote speaker at the 26th Annual Thomas H. Slater Community Center Martin Luther Kings Jr. Breakfast, at the Crown Plaza Hotel in White Plains, January 15, 2019.