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Five Questions With Peekskill Republican Candidate Barbara Kerasiotes

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's Republican Candidate for Common Council is Barbara Kerasiotes.

Kerasiotes, a lifelong Peekskill resident and graduate of Peekskill High School, is a guidance counselor at Lakeland High School. A trustee of the Lincoln Society of Peekskill, as well as the Putnam/Northern Westchester Women’s Resource Center.

She is also a member of the Paramount Center for the Arts and also serves on the Rotary Lapolla Scholarship Committee and has been a member of the American Association of University Women and the Educational Advisory Board of St. Basil’s Academy.

1. Why are you running for political office?

As a lifelong resident of Peekskill with deep roots in the community, I have always been passionate about Peekskill.  My dad owned and operated the Academy Grill Restaurant, in the downtown for 35 years and instilled in me a love and appreciation for my hometown.  Peekskill was good to our family and I have always felt indebted to Peekskill for all that it has given us and feel that becoming a part of city government would afford me the opportunity to contribute or give back for all that we have received. Peekskill is now at a very critical juncture in its history, and I would be delinquent if I sat back and did nothing to help turn things around.

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

Years of volunteer experience service as an executive and a board member in various community organizations such as the Women’s Resource Center, the Paramount Center for the Arts, and the Northern Westchester College Conference Committee have prepared me for the challenge, as has my current role as trustee of a privately held company.  My years in the business sector have also provided me with a broad-based background in accounting, sales, marketing, and management.  Most importantly, however, my role as a school counselor for the last twenty years has taught me to listen carefully to the viewpoints of people from various backgrounds and to offer options and creative solutions to their problems.

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

First and foremost we need to get Peekskill’s financial house in order. Without a firm fiscal foundation, we cannot meet the challenges facing the city today.  Peekskill is on the brink of financial crisis. The second most important issue is the lack of real economic development which could have produced sorely needed tax revenue, tax relief for our overburdened population and jobs for our youth and citizens at large.  Thirdly, as we speak to people all over the city we hear over and over that our quality of life has deteriorated and one of the city’s most important jobs is to provide a healthy and safe environment for all of our residents.

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

My running mates and I share similar values and beliefs and have an exciting vision for renewing Peekskill and its future that includes transparency at all times where the public will know what issues are on the table.  More importantly there will be no hidden taxes or stealth fees that are slipped by the taxpayers – such as the real estate transfer tax and utility tax and there will be no empty promises.  Above all we’ll listen to what our constituents are saying.  We will open up the lines of communication between the city and its employees and negotiate contracts in good faith and in a timely fashion.

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

I want voters to know that I have never been one to shirk my responsibilities and that I will work hard for Peekskill and its citizens.  I have always felt that Peekskill holds so much potential and I want to be part of a team that helps our city realize its full potential.  I have never felt so strongly about Peekskill’s direction as I do today – i.e., that we are going in the wrong direction – and hence have felt compelled to undertake this new journey that I have taken.

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