Yorktown Republican Town Committee members endorsed three candidates for re-election Wednesday night.
With the 2013 election season heating up, the Yorktown Supervisor Michael Grace, Town Justice Sal Lagonia and County Legislator John Testa are part of the committee's official slate of candidates for November.
Republican Town Chairwoman Serafina Mastro said in a statement the candidates have earned the committee's endorsement by their "firm commitment" to paving the way for new businesses to open in Yorktown, delivering a "historic local property tax cut" and "saving town taxpayers millions" through increased local government and courthouse efficiencies and new taxpayer-friendly contracts.
"It has been an honor to serve the residents of Peekskill, Cortlandt and Yorktown over the past three years," Testa said in a statement. "By working in the spirit of bipartisanship with my colleagues and County Executive Astorino, we have been able to deliver three straight budgets that held the line on property taxes. Yorktown's share of county taxes have been reduced by nearly 4 percent over the last three years. I am also proud of the fact that we were able to defeat the MTA payroll tax and preserve the Montrose VA and I pledge to continue to fight for fiscal sanity on behalf of Yorktown's residents."
Testa, a life-long resident of Westchester, began serving the County Legislature in 2010. Prior to that, he served as a councilman and three terms as mayor of Peekskill from January 2002 until December 2007. He teaches technology and social studies at Peekskill High School.
"Two years ago I promised to bring change to a board that was unwilling to keep pace with the challenges faced by the dual interests of promoting local economic prosperity and preserving our quality of life and the unique character of our town," Grace said. "My administration has started to blow the winds of change by delivering a historic property tax cut in my first budget, passing business-friendly measures that helped open two dozen new businesses and negotiating a garbage contract that save taxpayers one million dollars. More needs to be done, though, thus I am grateful to the Yorktown Republican Committee for their continued support of our campaign to bring prosperity back to Yorktown."
Grace, a small business owner, is the founding partner of the litigation firm of Grace & Grace located in the Grace Building in Yorktown Heights. He was elected town supervisor in 2011 and previously served as town attorney from 1987 to 2003.
Town Justice Sal Lagonia, elected in 2009, was renominated by the Committee as well. He has a long history of public service, having served as a police officer prior to becoming an attorney.
The owner of a successful aviation law practice and former President of the County Bar Association, Lagonia is also a pilot who has been recognized for giving back the his community. Serving as a member of Angel Flight and PALS (Patient Airlift Services), he transports sick patients who can't afford airfare to hospitals for medical treatment.
"It seemed to me that their mission was extremely important," Lagonia told Patch in a 2011 interview. "We have many pilots in the area who give of their time and aircraft to help transport sick children and adults that cannot afford airfare, or who simply could not sit on an airliner for long periods."
He provides transportation for military people on leave so they can visit their families, paying the expense of fuel out of his own pocket.
The Yorktown Republican Committee will be interviewing other candidates to join them on the November ballot for the offices of county legislator, town council and Yorktown highway superintendent.
"We welcome any interested candidate with the same beliefs of smaller and more affordable government to submit their resumes for consideration by the committee," Mastro said. "This is a great way to experience the democratic process as well as serve your neighbors and community."