(Mayor Mike Spano being sworn in by New York State Supreme Court Judge Hal Greenwald)
Thank you, Michael, for those kind words. You, Alexandra and Christopher remind me each day of just how lucky I am. You make your mother and I exceptionally proud to be your parents.
Good afternoon. Let me extend warm wishes to all my family who are here today, especially my mother.
To members of the City Council, members of the judiciary, State and County representatives, deputy mayor, commissioners, City staff, members of our City boards and commissions and most of all to the people of Yonkers and those watching live at home, thank you for joining me.
I want to start by giving a round of applause to everyone who is participating in today’s ceremony. My brother, Vinny, the Yonkers Military Band, the Police Emerald Society, Yonkers Police Department, Hope, Frank, Nicole, Angelyce, Father Grippo and Rabbi Hurwitz.
I especially want to recognize our public school students from Roosevelt High School Early College Studies, who you’ll be hearing from shortly. I want to thank Mother Vicki and the clergy who participated in this morning’s Interfaith Service at St. John’s Church.
I also want to congratulate each of the public servants sworn into office today.
Today, as I look around, I see so many people who have been part of our team for more than eight years when we set out to re-energize our city and bring new and better solutions. I am in awe of the many victories we have won since then, of the challenges we have overcome and how these successes have changed the face of Yonkers.
I also see the many people who have joined the team since 2012. You have brought more energy, dedication and determination to our efforts. You made a strong team stronger. Together we have achieved more than we could have ever imagined.
Just look what we’ve accomplished in the past eight years:
- We are now the safest city of our size nationwide, boasting the lowest crime rate in Yonkers recorded history
- We have the highest graduation rate among the big 5 cities statewide
- We have attracted over $3.5 billion in private investment in economic development
- We have the lowest unemployment rate in over 20 years
- We are THE leader on county and statewide issues, such as reducing our carbon footprint or fighting the social-economic epidemics that may affect our young people
We are THE home to Class A entertainment giants, like MGM and soon to be Lionsgate
- We are recognized nationally by My Brother’s Keeper for our ability to mentor our young men of color and build bridges to their future.
And the list goes on…
It is because of this ingenuity, commitment, and determination that we have been able to accomplish so much and have changed the way we and others speak of Yonkers. We now can proudly say that Yonkers is our home, where the people and our diversity are what make us stronger and what make us the only big city in New York State that continues to grow.
Over the last year, I was often asked why I wanted to run for a third term. My answer is simple: we are not finished yet. I know we cannot rest on our laurels alone – we have yet to reach our fullest potential. There is no doubt that Yonkers continues chart its course for a brighter future.
And so, my promise today, to the people of Yonkers who provided me this opportunity, is to begin this third term as we began the first: to look at everything we do in City Government, and see if there is a way to do it better; to make the most of the diversity of this city; to consider the opinions of everyone, regardless of partisan background to make Yonkers better.
Let’s take all the energy we put into making Yonkers better during the past eight years, and double it. Let’s take the partnerships we built and expand them. Let’s take the billions in private investment and jobs that have come into Yonkers and seek more. Let’s take the improvements that our schools are making and say, kids, the sky’s the limit. And let’s take our safe city and the investments we’ve made in our quality of life and turn Yonkers into the very best place in which to live, work and raise a family.
Speaking of family… no matter how you define it, family is what we make of it. It can be defined by our relatives, our friends, our co-workers, our community members -- it’s who we are.
My father, Leonard, knew all too well the meaning of family. While we think raising 16 children with his beautiful wife, Josephine, may seem to have been all the family he needed, he felt strongly that his city, county and country were his family and home as well. My father, who was my greatest mentor, was extremely proud to call Yonkers his home and family. He was a true champion of Yonkers. I like to believe I inherited his innate love for our city and love for family. I believe it’s what drives me as your mayor.
It’s been said that if you want to go somewhere fast, go alone, but if you want to go somewhere far, go together. This might be one of the greatest lessons I learned from my dad -- that together, as a family and as a city, we are better together and, together, can achieve anything.
And we have already…thanks to the ongoing collaboration with those who also share my love for Yonkers.
Let me start with the members of the City Council. Congratulations to Councilmembers Shanae Williams and Mike Breen on their re-elections and to Tasha Diaz on her victory. Along with Council President Mike Khader, Councilmembers Corazon Pineda-Isaac, John Rubbo and Anthony Merante, they are changing the way things are done in Yonkers. No council has ever been more bipartisan or more determined to put the people first, and for that we should all be most thankful.
Let me thank Governor Cuomo and the State Delegation, who are tireless in their work representing us in Albany. We know how important it is to get Albany to recognize the needs of Yonkers. When I go to the Capital to make our case, it is so good to know that our State Delegation has already paved the way.
Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Senator Shelley Mayer, Assemblyman Nader Sayegh and Assemblyman Gary Pretlow make up the very best delegation in all of New York and for that we are grateful.
I also want to thank Superintendent Dr. Edwin Quezada, Board President Rev. Steve Lopez, the Board of Education, and all those who have begun to move our schools forward. Nothing is more important than continuing the progress that we have made in providing a top quality education for every student in Yonkers.
Let me also thank every dedicated member of city government, our talented workforce and union leaders -- business owners, veterans, those who belong to civic organizations, churches, the PTAs and everyone who together is making Yonkers a greater place.
Thank you to our first responders who protect us at home and the Armed Forces who serve us abroad.
Like you, each and every one of us is proud to call this city our home: a city that enters a new decade with the wind in its sails, powered by promise and hope; and a city with a future brighter than we could have ever imagined – thanks to the good people, and family, I call Yonkers.
As I said the night you honored me with another four years serving as your mayor: You ain’t seen nothing yet!
Thank you all for coming.
Happy New Year and God bless you all.