NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – The New Rochelle Public Library Board of Trustees soon may be injected with a shot of youth after a local millennial announced his candidacy in an unusually full race for a spot on the board.
Jay G. Wegimont, a 23-year-old Iona College graduate who moved to New Rochelle from Rhode Island in 2009 will be one of four candidates vying for three open seats on the board when voters head to the polls for the May 19 election.
He will be joined on the ballot by incumbent trustees Damon Maher, a Yale graduate and lawyer, George Walters, a senior member of the board who teaches at the College of New Rochelle and Charles “Chuck” Burke Jr., a financier who joined the board in the fall with Maher.
If Wegimont succeeds in winning a spot on the board, he will bring a voice that is decidedly younger than his peers.
“The library is so important to the fabric of our 21st century living, especially with the programs and technological gap that many in our community feel when it comes to access to technology,” he said. “What brought me into this was a sense of duty for my community. I’m young. I have energy, and I have a lot of ideas to continue the New Rochelle Public Library as a technological nexus in the county.”
Despite his youth, Wegimont boasts an impressive civic service resume, serving as a staff assistant for Congressman Eliot Engel in Mount Vernon, working on Mayor Noam Bramson’s unsuccessful run for county executive and sitting on the Iona Alumni Association Board of Directors. He’s been a senior volunteer at HOPE Community Services and is learning to speak Spanish “to connect and communicate with the community more effectively.”
“I think the library has done a great job expanding services, from book delivery to making it a place of municipal and technological outreach for the community,” he said. “They’ve done a good job adapting, but not enough people know about the extraordinary gifts our library brings to the community.”
Board President Haina Just-Michael said many 20-somethings volunteer and utilize the library, but not many have run for a position as a trustee before.
“We haven’t had this many people stepping up in recent years, but I don’t think of it as a race,” she said. “Whoever doesn’t win isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.”
If elected, Wegimont, who lives across the street from the library, has vowed to continue the technological movement already underway and to increase transparency between officials and the community they serve.
“Not enough young people that pay taxes and people around the city know about the countless programs available to them at the library,” he said. “My work as a trustee can be extraordinarily helpful as a catalyst for more young people to run for office in New Rochelle.”
The New Rochelle Public Library Board election will be Tuesday, May 19. There will be a forum sponsored by the New Rochelle League of Women Voters Monday, May 11 at City Hall.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.