(Peekskill, NY) Senator Peter B. Harckham was sworn in today as New York State Senator representing the 40th Senate District in front of an audience of elected officials, dignitaries, family, friends and community members. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo administered the Oath of Office to Senator Harckham in the Peekskill High School auditorium. Peekskill Mayor Andre Rainey, a graduate of Peekskill High School, hosted the event and Westchester County Executive George Latimer delivered the keynote speech. Peekskill High School’s famed City Singers performed at the ceremony.
“I am honored and humbled to take the Oath of Office here in Peekskill,” said Harckham. "Those of us who have been given the opportunity to lead have a responsibility to govern with humility, inclusive of all, striving to serve all and, recognizing that our diversity is our greatest strength."
The joint invocation was delivered by Imam Saad Gewida of the Hudson Valley Islamic Center in Mohegan Lake and Rabbi Aaron Brusso of Bet Torah in Mt. Kisco. Rev. Dr. Martha Jacobs of the First Congregational Church in Chappaqua, delivered the benediction.
Harckham, who began his political career serving on the Westchester County Board of Legislators, has been appointed Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Alcoholism & Substance Abuse. With the opioid crisis affecting many communities across the state, he has noted that there is critical work to be done addressing the impacts on our families, neighborhoods, economy and those who are suffering from opioid addiction.
The Senator also pointed out that some of the issues discussed during the campaign were concerns shared by both sides of the aisle, including the Child Victims Act, the closure of Indian Point and the unsustainable burden of property taxes and the loss of SALT deductions. He expressed optimism that progress could begin to be made during the 2019 Senate Legislative Session on these and other issues critical to his constituents.
Harckham’s victory in November marked a new era in the history of the district. The last time a Democrat represented the district in the New York State Senate was in 1913-1914 when Woodrow Wilson was the U.S. president.
In his speech, Governor Cuomo described Pete as having a heart “as big as the state of New York. “He understands the needs of the district,” said Cuomo.
County Executive George Latimer noted that Pete has “been through the fire” of a highly charged political campaign and emerged successfully. “I’m confident you will be a great Senator,” Latimer said to Harckham.
Touching on the tone of today’s political discourse as he concluded his remarks, Harckham urged an end to “political trash talking” as it serves neither the process nor the public. "Working together, there is nothing the people of the great state of NY cannot accomplish,” he said.
New York State Senate District 40 includes parts of Northern Westchester (Briarcliff Manor, Buchanan, Cortlandt, Croton-on-Hudson, Lewisboro, Mount Kisco, Mount Pleasant, New Castle, North Salem, Peekskill, Pleasantville, Pound Ridge, Sleepy Hollow, Somers, Yorktown) Putnam (Brewster, Carmel, Patterson, Southeast) and Dutchess (Beekman, Pawling).