MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – It’s going to be a crowded ballot when Mount Vernon voters head to the polls on Election Day, as several prominent, longtime politicians have thrown their hat into the ring and plan to challenge much-maligned Mayor Ernest Davis in the upcoming race.
Just months after being sentenced to probation and a fine after pleading guilty to tax evasion charges last year, Davis got less fortuitous news last week, as Mount Vernon Sen. Ruth Hassell-Thompson and City Council member Deborah Reynolds have announced their intention to run for the mayor’s seat.
Hassell-Thompson, who has been a democratic member of the state legislature representing Mount Vernon since 2000, is a former City Council president. She cited the poor condition of the school district, and the city’s crumbling infrastructure as just a few of the reasons she hopped into the fray.
“There are a lot of projects on the drawing board, and several that are just getting started on development, but think about how many years it took for them to get off the ground,” she said. “The taxes are high, and young married couples with children don’t want to be here because our schools our failing.”
“If we work as a community, become more engaged with our children and assist our parent’s ability to assist their children, then we will improve. We don’t want the state to take over our schools; they’re not even doing a good job with the ones they’re running now.
Reynolds , who has butted heads with Davis and some of her fellow council members of occasion, topped by an incident during last year’s budget review process when she had to be escorted from City Council chambers . She could not be reached for comment as of press time on Monday, but has cited a desire for a fundamental change at the top several times.
“I’ve lived here 12 years, and this is as bad as I can remember things, so I’m alright with more candidates looking to become the mayor,” Mount Vernon resident Raji Thompson said on Monday afternoon. “Our schools are a mess, you can’t drive down the block without hitting a massive pothole and there’s general distrust of our elected officials. I’m all for some change, even if it’s just for the sake of change.”
Other candidates, including Councilman Richard Thomas and former Mayor Clinton Young, have been long rumored to be possible challengers.
We’ve got to do something different,” Hassell-Thompson concluded. “We have to do better, because we can do better. And we will do better.”
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