City & State Magazine released their 2023 Westchester Power 100, on Monday, August 21st, Black Westchester’s Publisher Damon K. Jones and Editor-In-Chief AJ Woodson made the prestigious list for the fourth year in a row.
“There may be no more dynamic journalistic duo in Westchester than Damon Jones and AJ Woodson, who collaboratively run one of Westchester’s largest Black publications, Black Westchester. Woodson has used the platform to comment on the happenings of New York, diving into the rise of white vigilantism and public safety within the county. The pair have also interviewed a series of influential leaders on the People Before Politics Radio Show,” City & State Magazine wrote.
“It’s an incredible honor to be recognized for our unwavering commitment, determination, sacrifices, and unwavering faith that have fueled our journey thus far. We couldn’t have achieved this without the support of our amazing readers and community,” Damon said when the list came out.
“It is humbling and an honor to be recognized by City & State Magazine as one of the Top 100 Power Brokers and ‘remarkable leaders powering Westchester,’ and to be highlighted for all our hard work as we celebrate our 9-year anniversary of giving you the News With The Black Point of View and that Real Talk For The Community. Thank you all who have been riding with us. Like my brother Damon said we would not be here without all of you, we appreciate you and thank all of you for believing in us.”
The list included a plethora of heavyweights in politics, business, and community advocates like Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, who forever destroyed the phrase Three Men In A Room, as the first female legislative conference leader In New York State history, who calls Yonkers, NY home. She tops the list at number one.
“Numerous Westchester elected officials bemoaned Gov. Kathy Hochul’s sweeping housing proposals, which would have required New York City’s suburbs to speed up the building of new homes. State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins held firm in negotiations with the governor, putting the ambitious housing plan on hold. That’s not the only time this year the Yonkers Democrat has stood up to Hochul, as she played a key role in blocking the governor’s nominee for state chief judge.”
Then you have County Executive George Latimer next in the number two slot and Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano next in the number three. Assembly Member Amy Paulin (#4), State Senators Jamaal Bailey, Nathalia Fernandez, Pete Harckham, and Shelly Mayer collectively are listed in the number five slot. U.S. Congressman Jamaal Bowman is holding down the number six slot.
“Rep. Jamaal Bowman doesn’t shy away from conflict. The former school principal has gone viral for denouncing gun violence in standoffs with Republicans and joined fellow progressives in boycotting Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s address to Congress in July. Some observers have speculated that the progressive politician could mount a strong challenge against New York City Mayor Eric Adams, but Bowman has said he isn’t interested. A primary standoff may be headed his way regardless, as rumors suggest Westchester County Executive George Latimer may challenge him.”
Congressman Mike Lawler sits at number seven; Westchester County District Attorney Mimi Rocah sits in the number eight slot, Marsha Gordon (President & CEO) and John Ravitz (COO) of the Business Council of Westchester share the number nine slot, and Assembly Members Chris Burbick, Dana Levenberg, Steve Otis, J. Gary Pretlow, Nader Sayegh, Maryann Shimsky, and Matt Slater collectively round off the top spot.
Others on the list include Ken Jenkins, the first African-American Deputy County Executive (#17), Mount Vernon Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard and Comptroller Darren Morton (#18), Congressional Candidates Mondaire Jones, Whitmer Gereghty and MaryAnn Carr (#20), Yonkers President Lakisha Collins-Bellamy, the first Black Woman to serve in the council’s top role (#22), Acting Public Safety Commissioner Terrance Raynor shares the 23rd spot with the county’s Director of Operations, Joan McDonald and Chief of Staff Andrew Ferris.
Vivian McKensie, Peekskill’s first Black Woman to serve as the city’s mayor holds down the 32nd slot. Belinda Miles, Westchester Community College’s first Black president, comes in at number 37. New Rochelle Councilwoman Yadira Ramos-Herbert, who is attempting to become the city’s first person of color and first woman to be elected mayor in November, sits in the 40th slot. The Honorable Ruth Hassell-Thompson (#40) and Westchester Black Women’s Political Caucus President Subomi Macaulay sits in the 51st spot.
Other prominent leaders on the list include Grace Baptist Church Sr. Pastor Rev. W. Franklyn Richardson (#53), WCA Exec. Director Allison Lake (#57), Purchase College President Milagros Pena (#58), Tai Johnson (#70), Westhab President & CEO Rich Nightingale (#81), Community Voices Heard Exec. Dir. Juanita Lewis (#82), Westchester Community Health Center CEO Judith Watson (#84), Lifting Up Westchester CEO Anahaita Kotval (#85), M&T Bank Tarrytown regional President Tyre Robinson (#86), ArtsWestchester CEO Janet Langsam (#91), Black Westchester Publisher Damon K. Jones & Editor-In-Chief AJ Woodson (#92), WESPAC Foundation Exec. Director Nada Khader (#96), Gov. Hochul’s Regional Representative, Lower Hudson Valley Brandon Lloyd is #99 when the list came out.