George Kevgas Statement follows:
"Hello, thank you for coming. My name is George Kevgas, and I am a proud native of Yonkers, born and raised in this neighborhood of Lincoln Park, graduate of PEARLS and Yonkers High School. I stand here before you as a product of my Yonkers upbringing – my mother and all her siblings are graduates of Lincoln High School, my parents met while working at a Yonkers diner, and my sister and I were baptized, all within a mile of this very spot. When my grandmother, Grace Campanelli, came to the City of Gracious Living more than 50 years ago, Westchester was a different place – a place where one could own a home, raise their children, and live out their golden years in relative ease and comfort. Unfortunately, times have changed, and it has become difficult, if not impossible, to achieve this simple dream. My grandmother was forced to leave her home of 45 years because she, like many other seniors, was unable to overcome the obstacle of rising costs while on a fixed income. This travesty is why I am here today to announce my candidacy for County Legislator of the 14th District – to prevent what happened to my grandmother from happening to yours. Nobody should have to endure the heart wrenching disruption this can cause to families, and as your County Legislator, I will work vigorously to make sure that does not happen.
“My goal is to reduce the size and cost of government while maintaining the important and essential services we all depend on to preserve the quality of life all Westchester residents deserve, such as senior centers, day care, parks, and buses – including the popular Express buses to Manhattan right here. We’ve already seen the county board take such action this year with a 2.2% cut in property taxes, a 30 million dollar cut in spending, a 10% reduction in the size of the county workforce, leaving us with a 52 million dollar surplus! We need to make government work more efficiently, more accountably, and more affordably – and I am adamant in my commitment to achieving those aims. We need to employ “smart downsizing” in our approach, such as early retirement incentives and voluntary separation, consolidation, and elimination of redundancies – the drastic cuts to county government suggested by some are akin to amputating a limb to achieve weight-loss in lieu of a diet & exercise regimen.
“It is time we had an active County Legislator, one who will fight to keep our programs. One who will make sure to be present and participating in all discussions and casting all votes, especially those surrounding the most important issue the county is facing today, the budget. It is unacceptable that our county legislator was absent at this most crucial time. These are critical times in Westchester.
“We have to have a legislator who is willing to try fresh and innovative approaches to the budget pressures. We also are in desperate need of someone who is willing to use fresh and innovative ideas when it comes to creating the most efficient government possible, whether it be through consolidating local and county governmental services, the use of new technology, or public/private partnerships,
“Finally, the people of Yonkers, Mount Vernon, and Southern Westchester need someone who will fight to make living in the area financially possible. We need someone who will vote to approve the 4th Street Playground in Mount Vernon, and any other project in the district that will both invest in our future long term, and create jobs right now. We need someone who understands that capital investments create jobs, and providing essential services such as child care actually saves money. We need someone who realizes that the majority of our budget comes from unfunded mandates from the State and Federal governments, and we need someone that will go to Albany and Washington and fight to change that reality. That is what I intend to do.
“As your next County Legislator, I will be an energetic and dynamic representative in White Plains, and a tireless advocate for the people of this district.
“George Kevgas, lifelong Yonkers resident, grew up in the Lincoln Park neighborhood and graduated from Yonkers High School. After attending Seton Hall University, he returned to Yonkers and currently works for the City Council President and also serves as the 2nd Ward Leader for the Yonkers Democratic Party. Mr. Kevgas has always maintained a sense of the importance of public service. He was a volunteer tutor in middle and high school, and participated in a children’s reading program while at Seton Hall. Now, he remains connected to the community, serving on his local Parish Council, currently acting as the Parish Council Secretary. He is also an active member of the John Valedes American Hellenic Educational and Progressive Association (AHEPA), Chapter 51. His duties in AHEPA include serving as the Captain of the Guard, Director of Civic Responsibility, and acting as a member of the Scholarship Committee. He also is a member of the 2nd Precinct Community Council and attends meetings of the Lincoln Park Taxpayers Association.”