On August 29, 2013 NYS Supreme Court Justice Robert DiBella dismissed the frivolous lawsuit brought by local Democratic Party leaders on behalf of candidates for Westchester County Legislator in their attempt to disenfranchise voters in six legislative districts and prevent Republican candidates from appearing on the ballot for the November election.
The lawsuit challenged Republican candidate petitions from districts 1, 2, 5, 7, 9 and 14. One of the plaintiffs heading the challenge was Peekskill Democratic Party Chairwoman Marina Ciotti on behalf of candidate Duane Jackson who is challenging John G. Testa in the District 1 race. The other incumbent challenged was Bernice Spreckman from Yonkers. The remaining districts named contain challengers projected to have a strong chance of unseating incumbent Democratic legislators.
Judge DiBella made it clear that the proceeding was an attempt to “circumvent” the law and was “untimely” and “oxymoronic.” He also considered the action to be “without merit.” Additionally, the candidates whose petitions were being challenged were never properly notified of the filing of the suit.
“I have had candidates in the past do some very unsavory and underhanded things to try and get elected,” County Legislator Testa remarked, “but I have never had an opponent actually try to stop the election from taking place so they could win by default,” added Testa. “For the local Peekskill Democratic Party to have a hand in such a despicable attempt to deny voters their constitutional right to vote is unconscionable. They should be ashamed of themselves,” Testa said.
Peter Tripodi, candidate for County Legislator in District 9 said, “Since my involvement in local politics I have never witnessed such a pathetic attempt to disenfranchise voters. With games like this being played too often by some political operatives, it’s no wonder that many people my age don’t vote or get involved in politics. Despite such distractions I am continuing to take my case to the voters of District 9 showing that my opponent walked out of voting on the budget and how she has been a pawn of party politics since being elected to the legislature.”
Peekskill Republican Committee Chairman, Vincent C. Vesce, added, “ With Westchester’s citizens concerned with so many important issues that affect their daily lives, it is hard to imagine that there are political leaders such as Peekskill’s Democratic Chairwoman who are determined to quash open and fair political debate by filing absurd lawsuits that would essentially nullify an upcoming election. By dismissing this case, justice has prevailed and the voters in Westchester will be all the better for it.”
About John G. Testa
Former District 1 County Legislator, John G. Testa is served five terms at the Westchester County Board of Legislators, spending the last 3 terms as BOL Minority Leader.
John G. Testa is a lifelong resident of Peekskill who first entered elected public service as a member of the Peekskill Common Council in 1998 and then served three terms as Mayor. He previously served on the Conservation and Parks Advisory Board and Zoning Board of Appeals. John became an elected official eager to improve the City in which his family has lived for more than a century and quickly earned a reputation as a strong, independent, nonpartisan voice for fiscal responsibility.
John received a BS degree in Technology from SUNY Oswego, where his academic achievements gained him induction into Epsilon Pi Tau, the International Honorary Fraternity of Technology. He earned his MS degree in Technology from the City College of New York. He began his teaching career in 1980 at Peekskill High School, his alma mater, as an instructor in Technology and Social Studies, retiring in 2013 after 33 years teaching.
John has been a leader in support for the Arts Community in Westchester. He presided over the construction of the Peekskill Art Lofts, the establishment of the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, and the complete restoration of the Paramount Center for the Arts, originally a 1930’s movie house and helped bring critical funding to many Westchester programs. Legislator Testa received the “Advancing the Arts in Westchester Award” by ArtsWestchester.
John has a been a leader on environmental issues for two decades and has a long record of initiatives he has supported and spearheaded. His active involvement in developing and promoting environmentally friendly policies began as mayor and continued throughout his time as Westchester County Legislator. His efforts consistently earned John the endorsement of the NY League of Conservation Voters.
John’s most recognizable accomplishment has been his promotion and preservation of local history and historic landmarks, bringing an unprecedented focus on the region’s rich history, and its legacy of historic Victorian architecture. His roots in historical preservation stem from his experience as a Revolutionary War re-enactor and member of The Brigade of the American Revolution for 50 years.
John was instrumental in securing the preservation of the Lincoln Depot, now the Lincoln Depot Museum, where he now serves as President. The museum was recognized in 2015 as one of The Best Museums in Westchester. He also secured the preservation of historic Fort Hill as parkland, a 40-acre parcel that was originally a Revolutionary War encampment site. Under his leadership, the United States Dept. of the Interior declared Peekskill a “Preserve America Community.”
John was able to establish a record number of National Register designations of local structures, including the first Downtown and Neighborhood Historic Districts and supported the preservation of the historic Miller House in North White Plains. In 2017 John was named a “Champion of History” by the Lincoln Society in Peekskill.
John and his wife of 37 years, Nancy, live in Peekskill and have two adult children, John, Jr. (fiancé Courtney Kelly) and Katy (husband Mike Mearon). John and Nancy recently welcomed the arrival of their first grandchild, Lacey Mae, in 2019.
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