Senator Peter Harckham Takes Office

January 05, 2019

Senator Pete Harckham

Pete Harckham was elected to the New York State Senate in November of 2018. Prior to his election, Pete has had a distinguished career in public service, most recently having served in the Administration of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo from 2015-2018. In 2015 he was appointed by the Governor as the Assistant Director of the Office of Community Renewal, responsible for the roll out and implementation of a special allotment of $4.3M in CDBG funding for Westchester municipalities. For the past two years Pete served as the Director of Intergovernmental affairs for the $3.9B Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge project.

Prior to his service to New York State, Pete served on the Westchester County Board of Legislators from 2008 – 2015. Pete was first elected in November 2007 representing the 2nd Legislative District, comprising all of northeast Westchester. He was a leading voice for maintaining vital services; protecting our fragile drinking water supplies the environment; and investing in our families. 

In 2010, Pete was selected by his colleagues to serve as Democratic Majority Leader of the Board of Legislators. He was selected because of his progressive values, work ethic, organizational skills and for being a bipartisan consensus builder willing to reach out and work across party lines to get things done. He served as Majority Leader through 2013, honoring his pledge to serve only two terms.

During his tenure on the Board, Pete understood that it is more cost effective to keep people off of expensive social services so he has been a fierce defender of investments that assist the working poor to keep working and to help families on the cusp to stay in their homes. He also passed legislation creating a Westchester County Local Development Corporation to enable non profits to obtain low interest financing to expand facilities and create jobs.

Pete focused extensive energy into protecting our fragile drinking water supplies. He coauthored ground-breaking legislation to ban the waste from hydrofracking from being treated in any wastewater facility in Westchester and prohibits the brine from hydrofracking from being used on any road in Westchester for deicing or to control dust. 

He also got NYC DEP to agree to a pilot project to test alternative septic technologies in the watershed. Further, he successfully led critical negotiations between the county, municipalities, New York State and New York City regarding formulation and implementation of new MS4 septic requirements that has saved municipalities hundreds of thousands of dollars. He also successfully led the effort to release over $20M of NYC DEP funds to address water quality challenges in northern Westchester. He helped to pass groundbreaking phosphorus reduction legislation to further protect our drinking water.

He was at the center of legislative efforts to improve water and air quality, advance human rights and fair housing law as well as to protect young people from alcohol and drug abuse. He was recognized countywide as a leading advocate for the creation of affordable housing for seniors, emergency first-responders and the working poor.

Before being elected to the BOL, Pete served as President of the Board of A-HOME (2004 to 2007), a not-for-profit housing corporation that builds affordable housing in northern Westchester. From 1992 to 2005, Pete served as Vice Chair of the Clarence E. Heller Charitable Foundation, a San Francisco-based foundation that supports the sustainable management of natural resources, the reduction of harmful toxins from the environment, and promotes arts and environmental education to underserved communities.

Pete has been a communications professional since 1983 when he started his career on Madison Avenue and worked for ten years for major advertising agencies. From 2002 – 2008 he was President of Harckham Media Group, LLC, a strategic partnership of advertising, communications and production professionals. He also founded K&E Farms, a small horse farm in Katonah, NY, where he donated conservation easements from the farm to the Westchester Land Trust. He also converted his prior residence and farm to solar power.

In addition to his professional work, Pete served on the President's Council for the Northern Westchester Hospital, was a board member for the United Way of Westchester and Putnam, the Junior League of Northern Westchester Community Advisory Council, the Livable Communities Council and for many years was a girls soccer coach for the Lewisboro Soccer Club.

Pete is a lifelong resident of the Hudson Valley, having grown up in Rockland County. He moved to Katonah in Westchester in 1991 and now lives in South Salem.  He has two adult daughters, Emma and Kate, who both attended the Katonah-Lewisboro public schools.