MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. - It’s a new day in Mount Vernon, according to first-time Mayor Richard Thomas, who preached patience and confidence for the future at his inaugural State of the City address.
On Thursday night at the Rebecca Turner Elementary School, Thomas touched on various problems that have recently plagued his city, including infrastructure issues, funding the school district and “zombie housing” that has become a common sight - and blight - in the city.
Barely three months into his first term at the helm of Mount Vernon following the much-maligned reign of former Mayor Ernest Davis, Thomas implored a capacity crowd to ignore the sins of the past and look forward toward what he envisions as a bright future for the city.
“Issuing the ‘State of Our City’ is troublesome, because the problem we face didn’t just happen overnight, nor will they be fixed overnight,” he said. “Moving forward means making the hard decisions to bring about a new day in Mount Vernon.
Thomas spoke of a vision for Mount Vernon that included improved schools, increased collaboration between city stakeholders, and more transparency in official city actions.
“The ‘State of Our City’ is becoming hopeful. It’s the same hope that has been spreading to our families,” he said. “We need to have the same hope that the next generation of Mount Vernon lives can be better than ours.
“We need to have the same hope that reminds us everyday that you are Mount Vernon. That we are Mount Vernon. We are all the spirit of Mount Vernon and we’re all going to strive to reach the stars. Now is the time to come together and use our collective voice to make Mount Vernon better.”
The newest mayor of Mount Vernon impressed the importance of collaboration and coming together for one cohesive vision for what the future of the city could potentially be if the proper steps are taken.
“We must unite. We must promise our potential to secure our future, and when we agree to disagree and focus on new, big, bold innovative ideas, great things can happen and Mount Vernon will be strong,” Thomas added.
“Our city faces complex issues that are too big for one person to take care of alone. We must challenge everyone to rediscover the challenge of partnership, and we must all choose to put our personal difference political opinions aside and place Mount Vernon first.”
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