Legislator John Testa of Peekskill has been elected minority leader by the Republican caucus of the Westchester Board of Legislators, replacing Jim Maisano of New Rochelle, and Legislator Gordon Burrows will continue as minority whip.
The Democrats earlier elected Legislator Catherine Borgia of Ossining as majority leader and Legislator Lyndon Williams of Mount Vernon, who was vice chairman last session, as majority whip.
Though the Democrats hold a 10-7 edge on the board, two Democrats have formed a coalition with Republicans that has announced plans to elect Legislator Michael Kaplowitz, D-Somers, as chairman and Maisano as vice chairman. The board’s leadership vote is scheduled for Monday.
Besides Kaplowitz, the other Democrat in the coalition is Legislator Virginia Perez of Yonkers.
The Republican caucus’ announcement goes on to say:
Legislators Testa and Burrows received unanimous support from their fellow, Republican Legislators.
Legislator Testa is a lifelong resident of Peekskill. His public service began in 1999 when he was elected to the Peekskill Common Council. Legislator Testa went on to serve three terms as Mayor from 2002-2007.
In 2009, Legislator Testa was elected to represent the residents of District 1 (Town of Cortlandt, City of Peekskill and Town of Yorktown) on the Westchester County Board of Legislators. During his time on the Board, Legislator Testa has served on the Community Services, Environment and Energy, and the Appointments Committees.
In June 2013, Legislator Testa concluded his 33-year career as a professional educator, teaching Social Studies and Technology at Peekskill High School.
Following the announcement, Legislator Testa said, “I am honored to accept the position of Minority Leader for the coming term. The confidence placed in me by the members of my caucus is one that I take very seriously and I look forward to a productive, positive and collaborative effort for the next two years.” Legislator Testa added, “I would like to thank my predecessor, Legislator Jim Maisano, who served our caucus very well for four years. I look forward to working with the bipartisan board leadership as well as my Democratic colleagues to serve the residents of Westchester County.”
Legislator Gordon Burrows will continue in his role as Minority Whip, a position that he has held for four years. Legislator Burrows was a key player when the 2013 county budget was passed by an historic, bipartisan collaboration of seven Republicans and two Democrats. Legislator Burrows was also very instrumental in positioning the bipartisan coalition to assume leadership of the Board of Legislators for the next term. In addition to his leadership role, Legislator Burrows serves on three Committees; Legislation, Public Safety and Government Operations.
Prior to being elected to the Board of Legislators in 2005, Gordon spent ten years serving on the Yonkers City Council. For seven years, he was the Council’s Majority Leader. Outside of his public service, Legislator Burrows is an attorney in private practice in White Plains.
After accepting his leadership position, Legislator Burrows said, “I am very excited for the possibilities that this term holds. I look forward to working with all 17 of my colleagues to tackle the many challenging issues we are faced with. The word ‘Bipartisan’ is not just a campaign term, it is a commitment to working together, even when we disagree. It means focusing on our shared goal of governing efficiently instead of our political and philosophical differences.”
Photo: Legislator John Testa