In accepting the Republican Party and Conservative Party endorsements for mayor on Saturday, Bob Hyland immediately brought up former White Plains Mayor Richard Hendey, who was a small business owner in the city before entering politics.
Hyland, who owns Bob Hyland’s Sports Page Pub on Hamilton Avenue, was framing himself as a similar outsider, as a newcomer to politics but someone who understands the small business owner, the taxpayer, and the conducting of business in a larger sense.
“[Hendey] was a small-business man who understood what business people were going through at that time, just as I do now,” Hyland said at a press conference in front of Republican headquarters on Mamaroneck Avenue. “There was something about him, a sense of leadership. I would like to follow in his footsteps. He was a man of integrity, and I would like to think that I am as well.”
Hyland added that Hendey was successful in part because he appointed good people to key roles, and he said he would seek to emulate Hendey in this regard as well. “If elected mayor, I think it would be incumbent upon me to be a true a leader and to assemble around me the best and the brightest people from White Plains, to help us make White Plains work again. This is a great city, and it can be even better,” he said.
Doug Colety, the Westchester County Republican chairman, opened the press conference by calling Hyland “a proven winner, with 11 years in the National Football League and a Super Bowl win under his belt. As a homeowner and as a business owner here in White Plains, he understands the problems facing our city. The high taxes, the downtown development, many of the issues facing all of us here in White Plains.”
Hugh Fox, the Westchester Conservative Committee chairman, said Hyland “has the integrity and the intelligence to bring back character to White Plains City Hall. He’s the man who’s going to bring White Plains even further than where it is today.”
When asked how he would handle working with a fully Democratic common council, Hyland said, “I’m a believer in inclusion, and certainly in having an open door to any of the common council members. I intend to have a very civil administration, where there is give and take, where there are conversations between the mayor and each of the six Council members. The only thing we should really think about is what’s best for the taxpayers and the residents of this city. If we can’t come to agreement on that, then the city has a problem.”
The special election for mayor, to be held on March 31, is to replace Adam Bradley, who stepped down last month after being arrested for domestic violence last year and found guilty of several misdemeanors in December. Bradley resisted leaving office for months, despite calls for him to step down.
Hyland said he would likely support legislation to make it easier for a mayor or other elected official to be removed from office in a similar situation. “I don’t want the city to go through another stretch like we just did,” Hyland said. “There’s got to be a way to circumvent that. I certainly think that the corporation counsel should look into that.”
Hyland said that he would no longer run his Sports Page Pub if he is elected. “The very first thing I would do would be to line up a management team,” he said, adding that the process has already begun. “I understand that this is a full-time job. Hopefully they’d let me go over and have a burger once in a while.”
Hyland, 65, is a lifelong White Plains resident, and lives in the Old Oak Ridge neighborhood. He and his wife, Liz O’Brien, have three children. When asked if has any grandchildren, he said no, that his boys “are getting a late start” in that department. His father was also born in White Plains, after his grandparents settled in the city upon their arrival from Ireland.
Hyland played primarily for the Green Bay Packers and the New York Giants, and also for the Chicago Bears and New England Patriots. A guard, he won Super Bowl II as a member of the Packers. He played college football at Boston College and high school football at Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains. In his first foray into politics, he nearly unseated longtime Democratic county legislator Bill Ryan in 2009, losing in a close race.
Acting Mayor Tom Roach, also the White Plains Common Council president, will be on the ballot on the Democratic, Working Families, and Independence party lines. Former Councilman Glen Hockley, who was reduced to a write-in candidate after being kicked off the ballot on a technicality when Bradley was elected in 2009, will be running on his independent People Over Politics party line, .