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Tarrytown News

Phillips-Staley Seeks to Involve Community to Improve Tarrytown

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October 19, 2021

By Rick Pezzullo

Village of Tarrytown Trustee Candidate Effie Phillips-Staley is the only non-incumbent on the Democratic and Tarrytown United ticket, but she has gotten a good perspective of some of the needs of the village through her role as director of the Foundation for the Public Schools of the Tarrytowns.

“I have the privilege of partnering with the school district, its teachers and families, and local charities and businesses, to help our children get the best public education possible. This allows me to see first-hand the strengths of our children and families, who are an essential part of our vibrant community, as well as the challenges they face,” she stated.

“My role at the foundation also gives me insights into how we can create a better future for our children, from supporting literacy among our youngest students, to career preparedness as they move towards adulthood,” she continued. “These experiences have prompted questions that the Democratic slate and I care deeply about: Are our streets safe enough for our children to walk or ride their bicycles to school? Have we done everything we can to improve mobility and walkability in our village? Can we make it easier for creative small businesses to open and flourish here? And how will we upgrade village infrastructure so that it can withstand rapid climate change and protect our homes and villages? As I trustee I will push these questions forward so that the board can develop sound, sustainable solutions that improve the quality of life and livelihoods in Tarrytown.”

A resident of Tarrytown since 2016, Phillips-Staley said her children’s reaction to a news story on climate change motivated her to seek elected office for the first time.

“They expressed deep concern about severe weather forecasts and asked me if we would be safe. I said we would be if we acted to protect each other,” she said. “By running on a platform that focuses on climate sustainability and other people-centered policies, I hope to show my kids that we can act locally to protect the health, safety and prosperity of all of us who share this village.”

Phillips-Staley is an experienced non-profit executive with a 25-year work history in social justice, art education and museums.

“My most valuable skill is my ability to work well with many stakeholders. I have deep experience bringing together government, businesses, the charitable sector, and communities to develop real solutions to pressing problems,” she said. “Through my nonprofit work, I also have deep experience in fiscal oversight. Charitable and tax dollars deserve thoughtful, transparent management because they are given for the public good, and I will bring my experience of careful financial management to my role as trustee to ensure that our funds are used well and transparently for the betterment of our village.”

Another critical issue on Phillips-Staley’s radar is the availability of fair and affordable housing.

“Housing costs and rents are skyrocketing, which has the effect of displacing longtime residents. This is a national crisis that we are definitely seeing on a local level,” she said. “I firmly believe that if we proceed carefully, the village can expand fair and affordable housing stock without increasing traffic congestion or changing the character of Tarrytown that we all know and love. This requires an openness to taking on the problem and an ability to work together constructively to achieve positive outcomes, which the Democratic slate has the know-how to achieve.”

Having grown up in a dual-language household, Phillips-Staley said she could help the village communicate better with certain constituents.

“Good communication between elected officials and their constituents is essential to good governance,” she said. “Improving communications between our local government and our residents would benefit all, including our neighbors who might also experience language barriers to government participation. I have immense faith in our capacity to come together and take on pressing issues faced by our village. As trustee I will work hard to bring people together so we all can be part of the solution.”

“Finally, I’m running for office this year because I love Tarrytown and its Main Street, its neighborhoods and waterfront, trails, and parks, and especially our schools (go, Horsemen!),” she added. “Tarrytown is a wonderful place to build a life, and as a trustee I [would] pledge to protect, preserve and enhance all that is good about our village now and for the future.”

Tarrytown voters choose three village trustees and a mayor Nov. 2. Trustee Karen Brown heads the Democratic and Tarrytown United ticket as its mayoral candidate, with incumbents David Kim and Becky McGovern joining Phillips-Staley as trustee candidates. Trustee Doug Zollo and former mayor Paul Janos are also running for mayor with their own slates of three trustees.

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