This month, for the first time in nearly a generation, Democrats in New Rochelle will choose a new nominee for Mayor. I am thrilled to endorse Yadira Ramos-Herbert, and urge you to support Yadira in the Democratic primary election. (Early voting starts this Saturday.)

An Exceptional Person and Leader

Currently a member of the New Rochelle City Council, attorney, and Associate Dean at Columbia Law School (not to mention a former Library Trustee, former neighborhood association president, avid runner, and mom), Yadira has the experience, ability, and temperament to be an outstanding leader for our entire community.  Indeed, she has already played a vital role in addressing some of our most complex challenges, including public safety reform, redistricting, vaccine distribution, and the LINC project.  At every turn, I have been impressed by Yadira’s intelligence, integrity, focus, strength of character, and capacity to engender trust and good will among partners — all essential to a successful mayor.

Balancing Continuity and Change

Just as importantly, Yadira has exactly the right perspective for this moment in New Rochelle’s history – advocating a thoughtful balance of continuity and change.  She understands, values, and will build on the significant accomplishments of the past three decades, which have helped New Rochelle emerge from multiple crises to become the fastest growing city in New York State.  And/but Yadira brings fresh eyes to our various needs and opportunities, ready to establish new goals and speak in relatable terms to the aspirations of an emerging generation of residents: transparency and community engagement, equity and affordability, climate action, data and technology, and more.

A History-Maker

Yadira will be the first woman and the first person of color to serve as New Rochelle’s Mayor.  This is not the main motivation for my support, but it is a reason to be even more enthusiastic about her candidacy.  In a city that strives to break barriers, role models matter, and Yadira is uniquely able not only to lead with skill and determination, but also to inspire residents, including those from marginalized backgrounds, to become more fully connected to the community we share.  Displayed in the central hallway of City Hall are oversized photographs of all our past mayors, dating back to 1899.  You can imagine the sameness of these images.  What a special moment it will be for New Rochelle when Yadira’s portrait is added to this gallery!

Yadira is Overwhelmingly Supported by Those Who Know the Candidates Best

Yadira has run a positive, issue-oriented campaign.  By contrast, her opponent, Damon Maher, has pushed out unfiltered negativity about local Democrats, about me and the City Administration, even about community volunteers.  His attacks on Yadira have been particularly ugly and unwarranted, exemplified by a standard “hit piece” that arrived in mailboxes just yesterday.  This is unfortunate and unnecessary.  Primaries by definition entail competition among friends, who usually share a broad set of values and have stood together in prior contests.  Some restraint is in order, and I will refrain from responding to Damon in kind.  Instead, let me highlight an important fact:

Among those who know both candidates personally and have worked with them closely, Yadira is overwhelmingly favored. This includes the members of our local Democratic Committee, who delivered a huge margin to Yadira in a recent convention. This includes the great majority of public officials who represent New Rochelle at every level of government and who hold a spectrum of views from the moderate center to the progressive left. (I am not aware of any who are supporting Damon.) This even includes Damon’s former campaign managers, who are backing Yadira with enthusiasm.

This lopsided judgment is highly instructive. Even those who think well of Damon (as many of us do) still conclude that Yadira’s temperament and skill set are much better suited to the specific demands and responsibilities of the mayor’s office.

If you do not yourself have a meaningful relationship with Yadira and Damon, then I can only plead with you to consider the input of those who do. When people in the best position to make an informed choice are sending such a clear message, it is worth listening.

Spread the Word

Having devoted myself to City government for twenty-eight years, I feel a special duty to ensure that our community remains under the best possible leadership, but it’s up to all of us to set a course for New Rochelle.

So if you agree with my observations, then please share these comments with friends on your email list or through social media. And if you disagree, then I fully respect your right to cast a ballot consistent with your values and conscience.

The primary election is on June 27. You can also vote early from June 17 through June 25 (more information about that here.)

I have been enormously proud to work with and learn from Yadira, and I will be even more proud to call her my mayor.  I hope and believe you will feel the same.

Thank you very much for reading and for considering my perspective.