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Peekskill Council Election Victors Sworn in

PEEKSKILL, N.Y. -- The Common Council Chamber in City Hall was filled to capacity Sunday afternoon as residents came out to see Mayor Mary Foster and three fellow Democrats get sworn in.

Foster was sworn in for her third two-year term after first being elected mayor in 2007. She had previously served as a council member. Council member Don Bennett will begin his third four-year term after first being elected in 2003.

Joining Foster and Bennett were new council members Kathy Talbot and Darren Rigger, a former Peekskill Democratic chair.

The ceremony featured an invocation by Rev. Carlye Hughes of St. Peter's Episcopal Church and a greeting from Peekskill Area Pastor's Association President Michael Champion, Archbishop of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church.

The ceremony also featured a performance of "America the Beautiful" by resident Afua Yeboah and "Proud to be American" and "God Bless America" by resident Tommy Dabbs.

Rigger thanked the council and Democratic leaders for their support, as well as that of his wife Katria, his family and Peekskill voters.

"I want to thank all the current council members for their help and their support in teaching me so much that I now realize I didn't know coming into this, and I still have a lot more to learn," Rigger said.

Talbot, who was sworn in by her son Bryan and his children, said getting elected was a huge honor and also thanked her family and city Democratic leaders

"I've been a resident of Peekskill my entire life and I love Peekskill," Talbot said. "I love its promise. I love that we work together most of the time as a team. I think Peekskill is going in a wonderful direction and I'd love to that happen a little bit more and in a way that we're bringing everybody with us."

Bennett was sworn in by son Damon, a Major in the U.S. Army. Damon Bennett said he hadn't been able to see his father's previous swearing-ins due to his service but said he wanted to take the opportunity to say how proud he was of his father and offered some wisdom of his own.

"I've heard people talk about hard times, and I always say hard times don't last, hard people do," Bennett said.

Foster said the New Year's Day ceremony was a new beginning for the city and the council and said the Common Council would work to make the city a better place by working with the various city departments.

"We'll be setting common goals and priorities so that we can be assured that what we do over the next two or four years are things that are going to make you all proud of being in the city and having supported us and we do want to make sure that through 2012 you still have that same sense of security in our city," Foster said. "Regardless of what's going on around us in the world, we as a community seem to always come together as a family and make great things happen."

The ceremony closed with a Benediction by Rabbi Lee Paskin of First Hebrew Congregation and a reception was held afterwards at the nearby city community center.

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