OSSINING, N.Y. – In the village of Ossining, first-time candidate Democrat Victoria Gearity will be running unopposed for a vacant village trustee seat left open by Marlene Cheatham while trustee John Codman runs unopposed for the second trustee position.
Republican challenger Linda Cabral Marrero and incumbent Democrat William Hanauer are competing for mayor. The Ossining Daily Voice asked each candidate to fill out a questionnaire with some basic information. Answers were limited to 150 words. Below are Gearity’s answers.
Name: Victoria Gearity
Family: My husband Eric Gearity is a member of IATSE Local 52. He works as a key grip in film/tv. My sons Paxton and Levon attend Park School.
Occupation: Childbirth educator
Years lived in Ossining: My husband and I moved to Ossining in 2006 when I was pregnant with our first son.
Party Affiliation and ballot lines held: I am a registered Democrat. Voters can support me on on the Democratic, Working Families or Independence Party lines.
Years in Office: This is my first time running for office.
Civic Organizations: Ossining’s Environmental Advisory Council, Northern Westchester Energy Action Consortium, Energize Ossining Liaison, Editor of the Shapiqua Almanak, PTA member, AYSO coach
1. What are the three biggest issues facing the Village of Ossining and how would you address those issues?
Gearity: Development: Decisions about residential and commercial property development impact every aspect of life in Ossining. The primary task of the Environmental Advisory Council is to evaluate the environmental impact of new developments proposed for our village. My increased awareness about development plans in Ossining is part of why I’m seeking to be a trustee. Our existing local businesses are the foundation for developing a more vibrant and sustainable downtown and waterfront. A mindset of “How can we help you?” can go a long way toward encouraging existing and new businesses to flourish in Ossining. Minimizing Our Tax Burden: Ensuring that working families like mine can afford to continue living in this village is a top priority. A benefit of my work with leaders from across the region is learning about programs that are successful in other communities. Finding ways to cut costs, while maintaining services, demands creativity and an openness to new ideas. Communication and Engagement: In addition to being at every Ossining event that I can, I’m attending a series of Candidate Conversations. These conversations take place because engaged voters invite friends and neighbors to their home to ask questions and share ideas for Ossining. A desire for better communication is always a priority. Any resident with internet access can reach me on my website www.VictoriaGearity.com. Another way I engage with Ossining residents is through my Friends of Victoria Gearity Facebook page.
2. What would you do differently than the previous office holder?
Gearity: Marlene Cheatham has served Ossining for eight years as a village trustee. Like every trustee, my actions will be informed by my own experiences. I particularly admire Trustee Cheatham’s concern that tax dollars are spent wisely.
3. Westchester is among the highest-taxed counties in the nation. What would you do to lower the tax burden?
Gearity: Managing any budget is a balance of cutting costs and increasing revenue. A mindset of “How can we help you?” encourages existing and new businesses to flourish in Ossining. Increasing our revenue from retail businesses is essential. My participation with the Northern Westchester Energy Action Consortium (NWEAC) and Pace University’s Land Use Law Center for Sustainable Development introduces me to leaders and programs from across Westchester. The provision that the village board is currently considering, which would permit some commercially owned properties to finance efficiency upgrades with future energy savings, is an example of sharing services available because of our village’s role in NWEAC. Cutting waste is the best way to save money. Cutting services is a last resort. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the board and the departments to make the most of every dollar.
4. Why should people vote for you?
Gearity: I will be honored to serve our community on the Village Board. Everyday I find new reasons I am grateful we chose Ossining to raise our family. The values I bring to the decisions I make for my family will inform my actions as a trustee. I’m running for office to represent all of Ossining. The best way for me to do that is to hear from every willing voice. Please contact me at www.VictoriaGearity.com or 917-685-6717 to share your concerns and ideas for Ossining.
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