Election Brings Diversity to Port Chester’s Council

Joan Grangenois-Thomas (center) celebrates her victory at a Port Chester restaurant. (Photo via Westchester Hispano)

At the local election held on Tuesday, March 19 in the town of Port Chester, activist Joan Grangenois-Thomas was elected with 1,869 votes and became the only woman elected there in at least 25 years. For his part, Alex Payán, who obtained 2,575 votes, is the first councilman of Colombian origin ever to be elected in Port Chester and Westchester County.

Unlike previous political campaigns, this one was particularly intense due to the fact that five council members were up for re-election – Republicans Frank Ferrara and Bart Didden and Democrats Daniel Brakewood, Luis Marino and Gregory Adams; in addition to Grangenois-Thomas, who ran as an independent, and Payán, who ran for the Republican Party and for Community First.

Adams had the least amount of votes among the candidates with 1,075, and lost the election. As a result, there will be three Republicans, two Democrats and one independent among the council members. (…) The council has become more diverse with two Latino members and one African-American woman, in addition to three white members.

Alex Payán celebrating with his Republican Party team. (Photo via Westchester Hispano)

Alex Payán, born in Cali, Colombia, and who arrived in New York when he was 6 years old with his mother Fabiola Montoya, told Westchester Hispano that he is grateful to everyone who trusted him with their vote.

(…) He said that his first plan is to “go talk to the community to learn firsthand what their needs are and the changes they would like to see in their neighborhood and community.”

(…) Activist Joan Grangenois-Thomas ran as an independent candidate and lacked the resources political parties provide their nominees. (…) The elected council member announced that passing a resolution to require Port Chester to acquire translation equipment for the town’s residents wishing to take part in the council’s assemblies will be among her first tasks.

“We can also get volunteers from the community who are bilingual or multilingual to help other residents to understand what is being addressed in the council’s meetings. That is essential to achieving inclusion in our community,” said Grangenois-Thomas.

Luis Marino (top center) celebrates alongside his team and family. (Photo via Westchester Hispano)

Councilman Luis Marino, of Peruvian origin, won re-election with the second largest number of votes. “We have worked hard with the entire community and, thanks to them, we have won second place. However, the difference is that I have walked a single party line, but we will all work together and, as I said in the beginning: for Port Chester and for my people.”

For Marino, who was the first Latino councilman in Port Chester’s history, his first assignment in his new tenure is to see that the new budget is approved. “I am going to fight to curb property tax increases, as they affect our Latino community,” he said.

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