The Croton Republican Committee, held its Village election caucus last night, January 31, 2006, in the Ottinger room at the Croton Free Library. In attendance for the caucus was an audience of fifteen supporters, which included candidates Trustee Jim Steinberg, newcomer Joe Gonzalez and Village Justice Guy Adami.
Newly appointed Croton GOP Chairman Rob DiFrancesco, Vice Chair Susan Konig, Treasurer Steve Riccio and Secretary Jean Kraemer officiated the nominating process for the caucus that began promptly at 7:30 PM.
Steve Riccio began the caucus by nominating Joe Gonzalez as a candidate for Village Trustee, which was followed by Susan Konig who affirmed the nod with a swift second. Mr. Gonzalez thanked the committee for the opportunity to “give back to the community” and noted that he looked forward to learning on the go in his prospective role as a Trustee.
Next up was Trustee Thomas Brennan, who nominated fellow Trustee Jim Steinberg by saying that “Jim is a stalwart honorable man who works from his heart”. Former Croton GOP Chairman Mark Aarons quickly followed up to second the nomination for Mr. Steinberg’s second bid for election as a Village of Croton-on Hudson Trustee.
Mr. Steinberg, who was appointed by Mayor Dr. Gregory Schmidt last year to fill his Trustee seat for a one-year term after he was elected as Mayor, addressed the audience with a speech that reflected his positive experience as a Trustee and some of his proudest accomplishments. During his address, Jim said that he “was humbled by this experience. And that during last year’s election it was time for a change. And we led that change.”
He further added that he has “enjoyed his experience immensely in working with entire board” and was “very proud he helped to pass budget with less than a 10 percent tax increase by passing the 2005 budget by 3-2 vote.”
Mr. Steinberg was also responsible for creating a “Welcome to Croton” packet that is signed by the Mayor and Village Manager Rick Herbek. This packet, distributed to all new residents, contains “intricate materials” which “do so much” to help its recipients get acquainted with Croton.
Additionally, as an AYSO volunteer and a Little League parent, Jim was “really proud to open a dialogue with both the Little League and AYSO organizations for the first time ever.” He said, “It’s about bringing in people who are most involved in community together.” Summarizing, Mr. Steinberg added, “This year we have opened doors with all groups in the Village.”
Jim was also very excited about the platform he shares with running-mate Joe Gonzalez. They both look forward to enhancing their vision of “Open Government” by better utilizing “dead air” on Croton’s Community cable channel 78 with programming such as “From the desk of the Mayor” and starting an initiative - similar to the Croton-Harmon Board of Education’s monthly table at the Black Cow - called “Office Hours”. The Schmidt team envisions “picking a location to reach out to residents and give them the opportunity to see us.”
Dr. Mayor Gregory Schmidt, accompanied by his wife Susan, concluded the evening at around 8:00 PM and reflected upon his first days as Mayor when he thought, “Oh my gosh, what am I doing.” He went on to say that, “Once your elected you have to work for Croton. It sounds trite, but its about quality of life.” Further he cited that he has a lot of pride in the Board, while noting that things have been “quieting down at podium”, and is also proud of that.
Dr. Mayor also stressed that his team is one that is “inclusive” and went on to say that “I’m not one of you” to his Republican supporters, “I’m a democrat”. Mayor then noted, “I’ve been criticized about not appointing enough Republicans to Village Boards and committees but our inclusiveness has helped to bring the community together.”
The Village of Croton-on-Hudson election will take place on March 21, 2006.