‘Progress 4 Peekskill’ to Force Democratic Primary for Mayor, Council

[Submitted by Progress 4 Peekskill]

Greene, Agudelo, Vele, Perlow Offer Bold, New Vision and Ideas for Equitable Growth, Participatory Government, and Housing Justice

Peekskill residents ​Conor Greene, Vanessa Agudelo, Amy Vele, and Amy Perlow announced their candidacies for City of Peekskill Mayor & Common Council, respectively.

The forward-thinking slate of Democrats offers voters new policies, ideas and vision. The Progress 4 Peekskill team is running on a strong record of grassroots community advocacy and a bold, inclusive platform based on equitable growth, participatory government, and housing justice.

The slate and platform was formed as a result of input from dozens of Peekskill residents representing a wide range of community concerns and priorities, and to ensure that Democratic voters have a choice of candidates in the June 22 primary election.

Mayoral candidate Greene has spent two decades improving communities and serving the public through his professional and volunteer work. He is co-founder and board chair of Peekskill Walks, a resident-led nonprofit advocating for safer streets and healthier neighborhoods.

In that role, he led the successful effort to turn Esther Street into a new public space downtown, and is working with the city and county to improve safety throughout our neighborhoods.

His background includes covering local government as a journalist, communications and constituent services as a New York City Council staff member, and nonprofit government relations with The Doe Fund and Citizens Committee for New York City. He is also a member of the Peekskill Equitable Housing Coalition, and is currently pursuing a Masters in Urban Planning at Hunter College.

Agudelo is a proud first-generation Colombian-American, lifelong Peekskill resident and an organizer in the Hudson Valley passionate about empowering people to engage their elected leaders and foster systemic change from the bottom up.

She joined the fight against the Spectra natural gas pipeline expansion and later became appointed to the Peekskill Conservation Advisory Council. She is currently a member of the Peekskill Common Council after voters made her the youngest person to ever be elected in the City in 2017.

Agudelo is currently New York Immigration Coalition’s Hudson Valley Member Engagement Manager, where she worked alongside coalition partners to pass the “Greenlight” bill in 2019, giving all residents of New York State access to driver’s licenses regardless of immigration status, and is currently leading a statewide campaign to establish a fund for essential workers excluded from financial relief during this global pandemic.

She also is currently an appointed member of the Westchester County Hispanic Advisory Board and co-chair of the national committee for Local Progress on Reimagining our Economy.

Vele currently serves as a Legislative Aide for Westchester County Legislator Colin Smith and served as Campaign Manager for the Democratic Party in 2019. A lifelong resident of Peekskill, Vele graduated from the University at Albany in 2018 with a Bachelors in Political Science and Journalism.

Upon returning to Peekskill, she worked with New Era Creative Space and started organizing and working with other community leaders/organizations. Her interest in getting involved locally stems from her desire to share different perspectives and create constructive, and much needed, dialogue around issues that impact working-class individuals and advocating for solutions that benefit everyone.

Her biggest goal is to find ways to bridge the gap between the English and Non-English speaking communities in Peekskill. Vele is also involved in countywide organizations including the Hispanic Democrats of Westchester, Westchester Young Democrats and Westchester County Democratic Committee.

Perlow is a Hudson Valley native, and a Peekskill resident since 2013. She has spent her career fighting for school equity, working ​alongside nonprofits and​ ​public schools to increase the percentage of Black, Latinx, and low-income students who​ ​graduate from New York City schools prepared for the future.

Locally, she is an active member of Peekskill’s NAACP branch and chair of its Education Committee, partnering with other​ ​advocates to push for equitable policies and fair funding. Perlow is also a founding member of the​ ​Peekskill Equitable Housing Coalition, a group committed to halting the gentrification of​ ​Peekskill by ensuring the city’s housing policies and agreements are in the best interest of​ ​current residents. She holds a Masters of Social Policy from SUNY Empire State College.

Progress 4 Peekskill will bring bold, creative, and courageous leadership to Peekskill at a pivotal moment. Their campaign is focused on participatory and transparent government, equitable growth, and housing justice to ensure that all residents benefit from our city’s growth and popularity.

If elected, Greene, Agudelo, Vele, and Perlow will work to institute policies protecting existing affordable housing and increasing the availability of quality, genuinely affordable and workforce/middle-class housing.

The candidates will prioritize the environment in order to protect and preserve the incredible natural beauty surrounding our city. And, they have committed to ensuring an open, accessible and responsive government, and to working in a just, equitable and unbiased manner for all residents of our great city.

“I’m humbled that so many neighbors have asked me to step up on their behalf, and I would be honored to represent Peekskill at City Hall,” said Connor Greene.

“We have a wonderful city with an amazing community, but we’re at an important moment that demands new ideas and a vision for our shared future. I am running to improve city services and the government’s response to resident’s needs; for green, healthy and sustainable neighborhoods; to promote a vibrant, thriving downtown and to bring residents together to create an even stronger city.

“I truly believe in the possibility of great things when local government works hand-in-hand with residents and would love the chance to continue building on Peekskill’s enormous potential.”

“Working on issues like education and housing has increased my awareness of the systemic inequities that sadly still exist in our society,” said Perlow, “but it’s also given me hope for what local government can accomplish.”

She added, “There’s so much we can do to advocate for equitable funding, quality housing, and safer and cleaner streets — and residents deserve a seat at the table in the process. Improvement comes from harnessing community relationships and expertise, and creating spaces for all to be seen and heard.”

Agudelo said, “Progress for Peekskill means no one gets left behind. Although we’ve been seeing new investment in Peekskill over the years, economic disparity has only increased and residents are finding it harder and harder to call Peekskill their home. If this pandemic has taught us anything, it is that we are no stronger than the weakest among us.

“I am proud to be part of a slate that believes the work of government is to be done for and alongside the people it exists to serve. It is not about us as individuals, but it is about a policy-driven agenda with a long-term vision that meets the scale of the needs in this critical moment.”

“It’s been an honor serving alongside so many incredible community leaders in Peekskill and throughout Westchester,” said Vele.

“It’s been a tough year for many, including myself and my family. I’m running for City Council because we are at a crucial moment. We have the chance to rebuild, create policies that truly benefit everyone and find ways to connect City Hall to the community in ways we haven’t seen before.

“We need to bridge the gap between the English and non-English speaking communities and create a space where residents feel safe to come forward when they need help, know where to go to find resources and have the same accessibility to information as everyone else.”

Marianna Stout, Peekskill resident and Democratic District Leader, said, “Peekskill is blessed with natural beauty and the charm of a quaint early 20th-century city, but the city must now confront the realities of the 21st century. To do that, Peekskill needs political leaders ready for that challenge. I am so excited to be supporting a slate with real experience improving Peekskill, proven leadership skills and a sincere passion to meet the needs of a diverse, multicultural city.

“Peekskill is ripe to become a city of the future and our slate has the leaders who can do it. I urge my neighbors to support the Progress 4 Peekskill slate this June and bring fresh, new leadership to City Hall.”

For details on the Progress 4 Peekskill slate and platform, email progress4peekskill@gmail.com.

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