Westchester County Legislators Catherine Borgia and Colin Smith today announced their endorsement of Vivian McKenzie for Mayor of Peekskill, calling her hands-down the most accomplished and experience candidate in the race. In their endorsement they cite her record in pushing forward a progressive agenda on affordable housing, local green initiatives, the diversification of the city workforce, police department and courts and balanced economic development.
“Vivian McKenzie was already leading Peekskill in ensuring that barriers to social and economic justice were being dismantled, long before the national reckoning brought the rest of the country along,” said Legislator Catherine Borgia. “Through sheer grit and determination, under both Republican and Democratic Mayors, she fought to reform city hiring practices, pushed the police department to diversify its workforce, and appointed both the first African American and first LatinX city court judges in Peekskill’s history. There is no one better positioned to lead Peekskill and meet the challenges before it than Vivian McKenzie.”
In addition to her work on issues of social justice, McKenzie has advanced the most aggressive affordable housing agenda that Peekskill has seen in over 40 years, helping to bring to fruition two Main Street developments – one with 25 new affordable housing units and another with 82 new affordable housing units, as well as a parking garage and a new public pocket park overlooking McGregory Brook. She has also supported approval of 52 new units of affordable housing for seniors, 2 new affordable condominiums on Main Street and now in the planning process, 8 new affordable housing units proposed for Central Avenue and another 225 affordable housing units proposed as part of a mixed-use, commercial/residential development on Lower South Street. At the same time, McKenzie has worked to balance Peekskill’s growth by ensuring the right mix of economic diversity, including commercial development and market rate housing, for the long-term growth of the City, with approximately 200 market rate housing units also being constructed or planned.
McKenzie has also helped to initiate the single biggest investment in energy conservation and green initiatives in the City’s history, an initiative that is expected to reduce the City’s carbon footprint by 1100 tons of carbon and other toxic gases, each year. She and the council have aggressively moved environmental objectives forward, working to enhance environmental standards in new development projects, and making sure electric vehicles have access to changing stations locally.
“As her colleague on the council, I had a bird’s eye view of Vivian’s work ethic, intelligence, and leadership,” said Legislator Colin Smith. “She is a natural leader who looks at the numbers, follows the data and ensures that public policy is rooted in our values. She’s a consensus builder who is not afraid of a fight. Her record on affordable housing, local environmental policy and responsible government is second to none. And it’s not lost on me that she would be a groundbreaking mayor for the City of Peekskill. She has my full support.”
Borgia and Smith also endorsed the Democratic council slate of Ramon Fernandez, Dwight Douglas, and Rob Scott for Common Council.
“Ramon Fernandez, Dwight Douglas, and Rob Scott show what is possible for a city when you marry experience and energy,” continued Borgia and Smith.
“Ramon’s work incorporating the Spanish-speaking and immigrant communities into local policy making and advancing recreational opportunities for everyone is gold standard for communities from Port Chester to Mount Kisco. He also looks at the big picture, how the County and City can work together on everything from recreation to public transportation.
“There are few local officials, in Peekskill or throughout the county, who have the depth of municipal planning experience that Dwight Douglas has. He is an exceptional asset to Peekskill as it works to ensure that economic development and growth are balanced and support all of Peekskill’s residents.
“We also know that Rob Scott, a local business owner, non-profit leader, and volunteer educator on health and wellness for the Peekskill City Schools will bring new energy and perspective to a city that has seen phenomenal growth due to young people relocating here.”
McKenzie, Fernandez, Douglas, and Scott are the endorsed Democratic Party candidates for Mayor and Common Council. Primary elections are Tuesday, June 22, 2021.