White Plains Councilman David Buchwald completed his final public meeting as a member of the White Plains Common Council Monday evening.
Buchwald, who was first elected onto the Council in 2009, will leave his post to take the 93rd seat in the New York State Assembly on Jan. 1. He thanked the residents of White Plains and shared some of his goals for his new position in a farewell speach at the conclusion of the meeting.
The councilman's speech is provided below:
When I ran for the White Plains Common Council in 2009, I thought itimportant to be ready to answer the question “What is the role of a Council Member.” It’s an important question—and unfortunately it doesn’t get asked often enough, because you can tell a lot about a candidate by their response to a question like that. To answer that question well requires for starters going to our City Charter and learning about the authority and responsibilities of the Common Council. All of us, inside City government and out, would do well to review the City Charter every once in a while.
Still, being a member of this Council is about more than fulfilling words on paper. It is about being a part of a community and helping, in some small way, to lead that community so as to ensure that White Plains remains an absolutely fantastic city. And there can be no doubt that White Plains is a special place. And that’s why, on the few occasions I was asked about the role of a Council Member, I always included in my answer my view that a Council member should be anambassador for our City.
When I talk to co-workers, businesses owners, and friends thinking of moving to or within the New York metropolitan area, I tell them about how many great features there are of our City—from our schools, to our parks, to our Performing Arts Center—and of a business climate that is welcoming and adds vitality to our City. And I can also tell them of the tremendously hard-working City employees we have. They are consummate professionals and it has been apleasure to see first hand the work that they do.
The City also wouldn’t operate nearly as smoothly without the Commissioners and Deputy Commissioners who provide the day-in-and-day-out expertise to maintain crucial City services even as budget resources are constrained. Touting the things that make White Plains great—including our diversity, the relative affordability of our City and the convenience of our location and transportation network—is a real pleasure.
And so, being an ambassador to Albany on behalf of White Plains alongwith eight other unique and wonderful towns in Westchester, will continue to be a pleasure. The positive reputation of this City and of our area is something I will work to expand and build on. Rest assured that I am not leaving White Plains, I am just going to be representing White Plains in a different capacity.
However, at the end of this month, I am leaving the Common Council. That much is true. And so, to each of my Council colleagues, I say thank you. Working with you has been a great pleasure. As I’ve said to people in the past—I ran for a seat on the Common Council in part because I thought I’d enjoy it, but there is no way to really know what a job like this is going to entail until you’re actually on the Council. And I so appreciate the range of perspectives and skill sets each ofyou bring to our Council meetings. And I am so glad to have forged real friendships on this Council. We are also keepers of a very special trust, placed inus by the people of White Plains, and shepherded by many others who came before us on this Council, but I feel very confident that I leave this Council in good hands and that many great ideas will continue to emerge from this room.
And, Mr. Mayor, it has been especially an honor to serve with you. Throughout your tenure, but particularly in times of danger, like Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy, the value of having a Mayor who is level-headed, trusted and exudes all that is best of White Plains is so manifestly clear. It will be a pleasure to work with you, and with all the Common Council Members and Commissioners, in my new capacity.
I need to also of course thank the White Plains Democratic Party, who gave me the opportunity to run for the Common Council, and who are a group of tremendously hard-working folks, and most importantly a source of the best friends anyone could ask for. But my gratitude doesn’t just extend to our City’s Democrats. The support I have received from independents and Republicans in White Plains is something that keeps me thinking that by and large I have tried to do right for all of the people of our City. And I am keenly aware, that no one gets 70 percent of the vote in White Plains when running for the Assembly with the backing of Democrats alone. Staying true to my Democratic roots, I hope to continue to be worthy of your support no matter which party you affiliate with.
And so, most broadly, my thanks go to the people of White Plains. The absolute best part of this job has been when I’ve taken a phone call, or received an email or letter from a resident of White Plains looking for help. When I’m able to give them the information they need, to point them in the right direction, or to pass legislation addressing their concerns, and they express their gratitude, it is, without a doubt, the best feeling in the world that I, as an elected official, can have.
It has been an immense honor representing the people of White Plains as amember of the White Plains Common Council. Thank you for letting me serve in this body, and to continue to serve you with a different hat going forward.