Career as County Legislator, Mayor and City Councilman Spans 22 Years
Westchester County Legislator John G. Testa announces he will not run for reelection in 2019. Testa’s career as an elected official has spanned 22 years, beginning with his first election in 1997 for Peekskill City Councilman. He then served 3 terms as Mayor of Peekskill and now will complete his 5th term as County Legislator, serving the last 6 years as Minority Leader for the Board.
“I want to thank the communities I have represented for the continued support given to me over the years,” Testa said. “It has been an honor and a pleasure to serve and now it is time to pass the torch and step back from elected office,” Testa added.
Testa has never lost an election. As a career educator at his alma mater, Peekskill High School, Testa simultaneously represented the City in local government. He retired from teaching in 2013 after 33 years but continued his governmental service at the County Board of Legislators representing District 1, which comprises Cortlandt, Peekskill and Yorktown.
As County Legislator, Testa continued his record as a fiscally conservative, taxpayer minded lawmaker. Including his final 3 years as mayor, Testa had a string of 10 straight years with no tax increase budgets. Testa was a leading member of the bipartisan coalition that was formed at the Board of Legislators joining with County Executive Astorino that right-sized county government and put policies in place that preserved essential services, kept taxes flat, supported public-private partnership agreements for Playland and Westchester County Airport, The North 60 Biotech project, and protected local home rule control for Westchester municipalities over federal government overreach.
“My record of fiscal responsibility is one I am very proud of. I wanted to also elevate the standing of Northern Westchester communities in county government and bring the appropriate resources and infrastructure improvements we deserve. I was particularly pleased to bring an office to Peekskill that provides free legal services for eligible Northern Westchester veterans, seniors and victims of domestic violence,” Testa said.
Testa spearheaded initiatives to fully rehabilitate approximately 6 miles of county roads across Northern Westchester, bring improvements to county sewer treatment facilities and local county parks, support Veteran groups, expand programs for youth and seniors, improve Public Safety, support businesses across the district and be an important influence helping local communities and families during the Indian Point Closure process. Testa was a leader in preventing the establishment of barge anchorage sites along the Hudson River and his outstanding record for protecting the environment and supporting environmentally sensitive laws and initiatives has been continually recognized by NYS League of Conservation Voters.
As Mayor of Peekskill, Testa ignited an unprecedented era of revitalization, historic preservation, quality of life improvements, economic development, emergency preparedness, fiscal stability, environmental protection and recreational/open space improvements with new waterfront parks and “Peekskill Stadium,” the only full-sized baseball facility in the area. Private investment and downtown commerce soared with renewed focus on local business and infrastructure improvements, including a million-dollar restoration of the Paramount Theater. Under Testa’s leadership Peekskill won many awards including being named a “Preserve America” community by the US Dept. of the Interior and one of the “Great Places to Live” in Westchester and the Hudson Valley. Testa was named a “Champion of the Arts” by ArtsWestchester for his continued advancement of arts and cultural initiatives. He was also named “Champion of History” by the Lincoln Society in Peekskill for his efforts in creating the Lincoln Depot Museum and was given the “Community Service Award” by the Peekskill Area NAACP. Many initiatives that began under Testa were continued under administrations that followed.
“Although I am leaving public service I intend to remain active and continue to contribute to my community. I will now have more time to dedicate to the Lincoln Depot Museum and emerging business responsibilities. More opportunity to travel, read and learn is very attractive to me. Most importantly, I look forward to more time with my family and being a soon-to-be grandfather.”