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Ossining Mayor Had Long Career In Theater

OSSINING, N.Y. -- William Hanauer has been mayor of Ossining since 2006. He says he never planned on being mayor, but fell into the position with the encouragement of people who thought he'd be good at politics.

"When I was a young child, if anyone asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would always answer; an actor!" Hanauer told a group of seventh and eighth graders during the Anne M. Dorner Middle School Career Day.

Hanauer majored in voice at the High School of Music and Arts in Manhattan, and landed his first job at age 17 designing theater sets. From age 17 to 31, he designed scenery, lights and costumes, and also taught theater design at the College of Staten Island.

Then at age 31, Hanauer began taking acting more seriously and eventually landed acting jobs steadily for eight years, mostly in off- and off-off Broadway shows.

To support low-paying acting jobs, Hanauer took on a job as an Associate Business Agent of the Theatrical Wardrobe Union. The job ended up encompassing most of his time, and Hanauer never became a full-time actor again.

As a business agent for three entertainment industry unions over 15 years, Hanauer organized workers, negotiated contracts and lobbied before Congress. Many union members thought Hanauer would be good at politics, and the mayor ended up running for local office after he moved to the Sparta district of Ossining in 1996.

He was elected Vice President of the Sparta Association in 1997, and in 2005, he became an Ossining Village Trustee. In 2006, he ran for mayor and won, and he was reelected in November 2006, 2008 and 2010. His current mayoral term ends in December 2012.

The diverse Ossining community reminds Hanauer of the diverse members of his extended family. The mayor enjoys presiding over popular village events such as the village fair and fireworks and the Ossining Portuguese fair, that bring community members together.

"These events make a very diverse community into an extended family, and I'm the dad," he said.

Hanauer lives at 11 Fairview Place with his partner Dr. Alan Stahl, a medieval historian.

The couple have hosted exchange students from abroad for two years. In 2011, they are hosting Hardik Yadev, 17, of India.

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