Black Westchester Endorses André Wallace For Mayor Of Mount Vernon

In the previous Democratic primaries for mayor in the city of Mount Vernon voters had to choose from a crowded field of four or more candidates, with the winner, emerging victorious by less than 40% of the vote. The race has been heated and gets more contentious with every election.

In 2023 three candidates enter the campaign season, the current mayor and two former mayors. After court challenges of candidate petitions, only two remain on the ballot with the other attempting a write-in, making this the first one on one mayoral election in a while. With the city dealing with an uptick in violence (four murders in the first four months of the year – at least one in broad daylight), severe sewer issues, threats of increased taxes due to lawsuits against the city, no credit rating leaving the city unable to secure much-needed bonds and a having the lowest paying Police Department in the county who have been working without a contract since 2017 and leaving the city in record numbers for municipalities that pay more and have less crime. Potholes and the closure of the Animal Shelter are among the top issues on the ballot.

Now to be fair many of these issues pre-date the current administration but voters will be left with the choice of who they feel can move Mount Vernon Forward (pun intended). Not everyone is happy with the current mayor and not everyone is sold on the former mayor, but you have to decide who you think will govern the city the best moving forward.

I’ve heard several residents say they do not like any of the candidates or that they may sit this one out

When you cast your vote it doesn’t require you to like 100% of what the candidate represents. That would be unrealistic, and simply ridiculous. You aren’t choosing a spouse; you are choosing a mayor, city council members, and county legislators. Passion may be required to choose a spouse or a career, but love is not a requirement when choosing a candidate.

“A Vote is not a Valentine, you aren’t confessing your love for a candidate, it’s a chess move for the world you want to live it” – Rebecca Solnit, a writer, and activist who spoke powerfully about the importance of voting as a strategic choice rather than a solemn duty.

With that said Black Westchester would like to announce our endorsement for Mayor of Mount Vernon and our reasons why. After having extensive conversations with both candidates and having the pleasure to moderate the Mayoral Debate for the Mount Vernon branch of the NAACP. Black Westchester proudly endorses André Wallace.

One of the main concerns for many including myself is public safety, as a member of the public I do not feel safe. I actually feel less safe than when Shawyn Patterson-Howard took office and I have shared this with her on several occasions. I have had extensive conversations one on one with the mayor, in addition to meeting with her as a member of the NAACP. The one question I have asked over and over is what is her plan to deal with the senseless violence that is plaguing our city? Asked her several times what is her plan. Never in one of those conversations did I get an answer that gave me confidence that she has a plan to keep us safe.

The second concern which goes with the first was about the badge drain, I asked what is your plan to retain officers and make it more attractive for them to stay. Officers leaving at record numbers also does very little to keep us safe. I will give you badge drain is nothing new, departments all over the county in the effort to have more diversity are snatching up our officers and the unintended consequences of bail reform is the revolving door that puts those arrested right back out on the streets. All of these are real issues that you have had to face, but as the leader, and the CEO of the city, the people voted for you to put a plan in place, to lead, and to find answers to these complicated and difficult issues. These issues start with leadership.

The fact our police department has not had a contract since 2017, not to mention the CSEA and the Teamsters has others lacking confidence in you. Do I think voting for Wallace will automatically fix all that is wrong with the city no, but I have heard more of a plan from him than I have from you. I believe the city needs someone who is going to step up to the plate and deal with these issues head-on and make the tough decisions that need to be made.

André Wallace, the former city councilman and council president who spent the last six months of 2019 as mayor after New York State Supreme Court Judge Lawrence Ecker ruled on the month-long question of who is the legitimate mayor of Mount Vernon following the exit of Richard Thomas in July.

“I truly believe Mount Vernon’s greatest days are ahead, but we must work together to get there. We must understand the honor, responsibility, and extraordinary privilege it is to serve the public and make a meaningful impact on the lives of so many.

As mayor for six months, Wallace was instrumental in having all the toxic soil removed from Memorial Field and handing the keys over to the county so they can finally begin restoration. He doesn’t often get credit since it opened under SPH’s watch.

Crime and clean streets are his top priorities, according to his campaign announcement. He also promised immediate action on fronts, saying that in his first 100 days in office he would:

  • Reject the current mayor’s salary increase
  • Roll back garbage fees
  • Roll back sewer fees
  • Roll back water rates
  • Revise budget projections to stop abusive tax increases
  • Reopen the animal shelter with a responsible operating plan
  • Fix the building department and provide timely permits
  • Reopen the Armory and firehouse, now, not later.

After reviewing the candidates and personally talking to them one-on-one, moderating the only debate between the two, Black Westchester believes that André Wallace, as his campaign slogan states is, The Change We Need, The Mayor We Want so Black Westchester is proudly endorsing former Mayor André Wallace and putting our support behind him because we like what he did the 5 months or so he filled the remainder of Mayor Richard Thomas’ term, imagine what he could do with a full term.