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Five Questions With Peekskill GOP Mayoral Candidate Tony Washington

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. Today, we're profiling Peekskill Republican mayoral candidate Tony Washington.

Washington is the Northeast Regional Training Coordinator in BASF’s talent development and strategy segment of corporate human resources.

He also serves on the board of directors of the Peekskill Education Foundation, the board of the Lincoln Society in Peekskill and the African American Advisory Board to the Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino. He is a member of the Peekskill Rotary Club and the American Society for Training and Development. He and his wife, Leslie, reside on Riverview Avenue.

Washington ran an unsuccessful bid for the city council in 2009. He said he felt the city was going in the wrong direction due to the current administration and wants to take back the government from the control of that administration, whom he said he believes has brought progress to a "virtual standstill.”

Washington has also pledged to help businesses succeed in the city and said the GOP, if elected, would be city business's greatest supporters.

1. Why are you running for political office?

To bring common sense leadership and competence to city government, which the current administration’s failed to demonstrate as evidenced by its refusal to move forward with retail development that would have brought critically needed jobs and tax revenue and its deficit spending and borrowing that has Peekskill on the brink of financial ruin, with a projected 2012 deficit of over $3 million.

Foster has put the city in the business of real estate speculation and spending millions to buy contaminated, overpriced land with no near-term plans for developing where the clean-up will likely waste millions. There is also an inability to deal effectively with everyone from municipal employees to customers of city services to anyone desiring to do business with the city and a failure to effectively address quality of life issues, including illegal rooming houses, loitering, filthy streets and crumbling infrastructure.

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

I’ve acquired a broad range of perspectives, knowledge, skills and experience during my 40-plus years in manufacturing and through service on a variety of community organizations including 20 years in manufacturing management quality assurance and technical writing, almost 15 years of experience in human resources. I’ve successfully led organizations exceeding 150 employees and made tough decisions and done it with respect for those who worked for me. I understand the power of diversity and how to leverage it for the good of an organization and I have a proven track record of being able to build consensus among people of diverse backgrounds and perspectives

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

We’ll put the city’s financial house in order by restoring multi-year budgeting and immediately implementing a zero-based budgeting process to ensure annual assessments of departmental needs. We’ll entertain every credible opportunity to draw businesses and development to Peekskill that will create jobs, expand our commercial tax base, diversify our economy and provide relief and renewed hope in Peekskill’s future. We’ll bring our community together in an unprecedented way to address the chronic and acute issues that affect us all and do it in a way that respects every opinion and every person, regardless of race, ethnicity, socio-economic standing or political affiliation.

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

We’ll simplify and streamline financial reporting so that people can see precisely where and how their tax dollars are being spent. The current administration completely ignores hard working people who aspire to something greater but we’ll work to build a diverse economy where all residents of Peekskill can benefit. We must visibly improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods and we’ll engage the school district in an unprecedented partnership to address issues of mutual concern.

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

While I’ve achieved a modest measure of success, my youth was shaped by our family’s struggle to overcome poverty.  I’ve lived in public housing.  I know the value of an education.  I know what can be accomplished with hard work and the power of hope that comes from knowing that anyone can succeed if given a fair chance.  I’ve never forgotten where I came from or what it took to get where I am today.  I’m grateful for the people who helped me and want to help those who are still struggling.

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