With the incoming national administration signaling its intense hostility to progressive goals, it is more important than ever for local leaders to speak up – to defend the marginalized and the bullied, to uphold fundamental democratic norms, and to implement an alternative vision of just and humane public policy.

That is why I did not hesitate to join several dozen other mayors in signing this recent letter to President Obama in support of protections for immigrants.  And that is why, more broadly, I expect to make or associate myself with similar statements on other subjects during the next few years.

For me, this role is not just an expression of personal conscience — although conscience is certainly a big part of my motivation — it is also about effective representation for our community of New Rochelle.

Thousands of our residents may be directly affected by radical changes in immigration, health care, environmental, or economic policies.  In an even more basic sense, our city has always been defined by its diversity and its open, inclusive spirit.

Furthermore, the people of New Rochelle expressed their preferences in resounding terms last November, delivering nearly 70% of the vote to Hillary Clinton, a bigger margin than she received statewide or countywide.  (The final numbers out of New Rochelle give 21,519 votes to Hillary Clinton, 8,484 votes to Donald Trump, and 1,050 to a scattering of other candidates.  Hillary won in every part of the city – north, south, east, and west.)

Of course, I respect and honor the peaceful transfer of power and acknowledge the legitimacy of the electoral college outcome, but those of us who believe passionately that America is better than this new administration must do our part, whether large or small, to stand up for our neighbors, our principles, and our country.

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