What do a Yorktown Lions Club member, martial arts instructor, former fire chief, former police officer and president of a garbage hauler have in common?
They are all running for public office.
The number of candidates who have expressed an interest in running for public office – including Yorktown town board member and Yorktown highway superintendent – is the highest it has ever been, according to Republican Town Committee chairwoman Serafina Mastro.
There are 10 candidates who are seeking to secure a nomination from Yorktown Republican Town Committee members.
"The sheer number of resumes we've received from qualified candidates seeking to gain the Republican endorsement shows that those who desire to best serve the public trust recognize that the Republican line is key to winning office here in Yorktown," Mastro said. "But year after year, the main reason the Yorktown Republicans have been so successful is the quality and caliber of the candidates we attract."
There are two positions open for town board. Yorktown councilmen Vishnu Patel, a Democrat, and Republican Terrence Murphy's seats are up for election.
Three self-described "pro-growth and fiscally conservative" candidates have stepped forward to be considered for one of those two positions.
The group includes:
- Dorothy Forcina, of Croton Lake. She is Director of Corporate Partnerships at Mercy College. She has 30 years of business experience and has previously served as Managing Director of the Westchester County Association.
- Ed Latcherman of Yorktown Heights. He also has 30 years of business experience as a hospitality executive. He has a long history of community involvement in Yorktown, including fundraising for pancreatic cancer research and involvement with the Lions Club.
- Rich Shaw, of Jefferson Valley. An engineer by trade, Shaw is the General Manager of Sales for UTC Power. He is also an instructor at Wood Tiger Martial Arts in Cross River and an adult leader with the Boy Scouts of America.
"All three of our board applicants, along with Councilman Murphy, represent the best and brightest Yorktown has to offer and while I wish there were some way that they could all serve today, I know that one day they all will," Mastro said.
Yorktown Councilman Terrence Murphy has not made an announcement if he would seek reelection and he has not thrown his hat in the ring for the fourth legislative district, which he lost in 2011 to incumbent legislator Mike Kaplowitz. He is expected to make an announcement in April.
The open Yorktown highway superintendent position has garnered a tremendous interest for the Republican endorsement. The candidates are:
- Yorktown Councilman Dave Paganelli. He has thrown his hat in the ring. He said he expects to receive the endorsements of the Conservative and Independence parties. He is a member of the Teamsters Union, with 30 years of management experience.
- Martin McGannon, former Yorktown Heights Fire Chief is also seeking the nod. He is employed by the Joint Waterworks department. McGannon ran a competitive race for Fire Commissioner in 2011.
- Gregory Bernard. He is a former Yorktown councilman who ran in a Republican primary for the office in 2009 but lost to current Highway Superintendent Eric DiBartolo. Bernard served two terms on the town board, but was defeated in 2001 along with former councilman Floyd C. Braun. Bernard works in construction.
- Brian Amico, a lifelong Yorktown resident, has thrown his hat in the ring. He is the president of Frontline Waste Management, Yorktown's new garbage hauler. Amico says he would resign from the Board of Directors if he gets elected.
- Raymond Nikisher is a former police sergeant with 25 years of law enforcement experience, including service with the Yorktown Police Department. Since 1988, he has been the owner and operator of R. Nikisher & Sons Inc., a family excavation and construction company.
- Anthony Supino. He is a Putnam Valley resident and the owner of A. Supino & Sons Septic & Excavation in Shrub Oak. Supino said that as a small business owner, he would use his knowledge and experience to achieve growth, stability and prosperity.
- Thomas Diana, of Shrub Oak, who is not a registered Republican, owns a fuel oil delivery company. He has requested an interview, saying he needs the backing of the Yorktown Republican Town Committee and hopes to gain the party's nomination.
Previously interested candidates, but not running for office are:
- Chris Sciarra, a Mohegan Lake resident and local developer. He had announced he was a candidate but last week he announced he was stepping aside to endorse Paganelli.
- Former Yorktown resident Dan Carfi, a police officer, had also requested an interview, but has since withdrawn.
"There is no better way to serve your community and give back to your neighbors than serving as an elected official," Mastro said. "This highly qualified group of individuals who have stepped forward to participate in the democratic process are each deserving of praise for their willingness to serve the public trust. I am certain that whoever is nominated by the Republican Party will be successful in November."
Committee members will conduct public interviews throughout March, with the official vote on endorsements to take place in April.
Whoever is nominated will run alongside incumbent County Legislator John Testa, Town Justice Sal Lagonia and Supervisor Grace. The three men were endorsed by Republican committee members earlier this year.
Former Yorktown Supervisor Susan Siegel has announced she was seeking the Democratic Committee nomination for supervisor. Former highway superintendent candidate Steve Gardner has also announced he is seeking the Democratic Committee nomination for highway superintendent. Mohegan Lake resident Evan Bray has announced his run for councilman and would seek the Democratic nomination.