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Five Questions with Peekskill Democratic Candidate Don Bennett

PEEKSKILL, N.Y. – All this week, The Daily Peekskill will be featuring interviews with the common council candidates running in the Nov. 8 general elections.

Wednesday’s Democratic candidate for common council is incumbent Deputy Mayor Don Bennett. Bennett was first elected to the council in 2003 and is serving his second four-year term. He was appointed deputy mayor in 2008 by Foster.

An employee of Pamal Broadcasting, Bennett is also a member of Peekskill Rotary and the Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce. Bennett said he has worked to implement intelligent city planning and growth, with an emphasis on providing commercial recreational opportunities for the city’s youth and families, as well as working with city staff in looking for economic opportunities.

Bennett has served as board president of the Friends of Hudson Valley Mental Health, as an advocate for the Peekskill Youth Bureau and as a member of the Peekskill City School District’s Citizens Committee for Long-term Financial Planning.

1. Why are you running for political office?

I am seeking re-election to continue the work that the current administration has developed over the last four years.  And to start new projects that give Peekskill the advantages it needs to maintain the lead in being a new center for art, culture and entertainment.

2. What skills and experience do you/would you bring to the job?

My current professional career in marketing and previously in retail management provide me with skill sets that include long range planning, creative planning, the ability to work with many different people and look for the unique opportunity to make change.

3. What issues would you like to address in the city?

If re-elected some of the issues on the top of the list are to (revamp) HR structure for city employees, providing joint services from the city and school district to save budget dollars, working with our economic development and planning departments to bring more business, cultural and entertainment opportunities to our community.

4. How do you differ from your opponents in your views of what should be done to make Peekskill better?

I am not sure, because I don’t know what the other Republican candidates are offering, but I am a person who likes to bring people together to work on the common good. Networking with various players, seeking different ideas and suggestions.

5. What else would you like voters to know about you?

For people who are new to the city, I want them to know that my involvement in the city goes beyond elected office. I’m a member of the Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber, Rotary Club of Peekskill, Holy Spirit Church and a few other civic organizations. Since the day I took over as manager of the former Steinbach department store, I have tried to help make change for all concerned – it may take a while to reach the goal but I feel that many of the efforts I have been involved in do work to the benefit of others.

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