Republican Frank Catalina faces Democrat Colin D. Smith for a two-year term as the District 1 legislator, which includes Buchanan, parts of Cortland, Peekskill and Yorktown.

We asked each of the candidates to talk briefly about themselves, their positions and goals. You can find their answers below:

Frank Catalina

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Who are you? Provide a brief overview of your background and experience. 
I grew up in Peekskill, graduated from Peekskill high school and I am and have been a practicing attorney here in Peekskill  for the past 38 years. I became involved in politics when George Pataki ran for mayor of Peekskill. Thereafter, I became a part time attorney for Peekskill. I have served as city prosecutor; planning and zoning board attorney; attorney for every board and commission including attorney for the Peekskill housing authority; deputy corporation counsel; trial counsel and ultimately as the corporation counsel. I served under 5 different mayors of Peekskill . I ran and was elected as  Peekskill’s 23rd mayor and served two terms from 2014-2018.  

Why do you want to be a county legislator?
After having served in various positions as a lawyer, and after the death of my wife, with my three children off in college, I had the time and honor to serve as mayor. I have a solid record of achievements as mayor but have seen the limitations of how far progress can be taken without further support from the county level of government. This district was well served by legislator John Testa for 10 years and George Oros before him. When John retired, I was recruited to run for the seat based upon my knowledge of the district, its problems and needs from the county level, and my ability to work constructively with the other party – having served my entire two terms as mayor in the minority.  Quite frankly, the strong record of achievements in Peekskill would not have occurred without recruiting and retaining bi-partisan support.  We have serious issues facing this district including Indian Point, the A.I.M. pipeline, the sanitary sewer district, homelessness and maintenance of our county roads and county parks.  I know firsthand that when it comes to funding and services, everything north of 287 is severely short changed.  I will fight that, whether its route 6 traffic and road repairs or more reasonable service on the bee-line bus system.  On the county level, issues like the medical center, the airport and Playland will need bi-partisan efforts to make sure these institutions adequately serve Westchester.

What is a top priority for the county over the next five to 10 years?
Well, always making and trying to keep Westchester affordable by taxing less and spending smarter.  Indian Point is a top priority for me and this district. The loss of revenues to the towns and school districts directly affected must be addressed not to mention the waste that will be stored there  and affecting the area for generations to come.
I feel my solid record of achievements as mayor of Peekskill uniquely qualifies me to make a difference on the county board of legislators and I ask for your support.  

Colin D. Smith

Who are you? Provide a brief overview of your background and experience. 

I was born and raised in Peekskill. I am a graduate of the Peekskill High School (Class of '91), Cedarville University (OH -- Class of '96) and Pace Law School (NY -- Class of '03). I am admitted to practice law in both NY and CT, as well as the Federal Court in the Southern District of NY.After graduating law school, I worked as an Assistant Bronx District Attorney. office. From there, I worked for several private firms until 2015 when I decided to open my own office in Peekskill and have worked there ever since. I was elected to the Peekskill City School Board in 2012 and again in 2015. In 2017, I was elected to, and currently sit on, the Peekskill Common Council.

Why do you want to be a county legislator?
I am running for County Legislator to better serve the residents of Peekskill and its surrounding communities. Shortages in affordable living solutions, unemployment, crumbling infrastructure and environmental challenges are all pressing issues that urgently need to be addressed. 

What is a top priority for the county over the next five to 10 years?
I have a few, namely -- jobs, affordability and  the environment. I will work with state and local officials, labor unions and the business community to provide more good-paying jobs for our residents. I will demand that the state and federal governments make health and environmental safety top priority during the decommissioning of Indian Point while also fighting to ensure they do everything possible to blunt the impact of lost tax revenues. Last but not least, I will work to increase affordable solutions for residents, especially for senior citizens who should be allowed to age in place.