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Michael Donnelly Campaigns for Council Seat

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- The Daily White Plains has put together a guide for voters interested in learning more about the Common Council and county legislator candidates before the Nov. 8 elections. Each candidate was asked the same questions.

Michael Donnelly , 30, a five-year White Plains resident and real estate developer, is campaigning for a seat on the Common Council. He's endorsed by the Republican Party. In his own words, here's how Donnelly describes his campaign:

Why did you decide to move to White Plains?

I was born here in White Plains and grew up in the shadow of White Plains in West Harrison. Then my family moved to Purchase. I went to Fairfield University where I studied finance and international finance. Then I came back home and became a real estate developer. I built my house with my own two hands on Livingston Avenue.

Why would you be a good representative in the coming term?

I see things in White Plains that I don’t like. I see one political party that holds every office. You have no sense of checks and balances. You have rubber stamps and you have people turning their heads on corruption. If the Common Council decides to ignore (Gov. Andrew) Cuomo and raise taxes anyways – unless you have someone on the council who says, ‘Wait a second, it’s our mandate to not raise taxes more than 2 percent' – they’ll go up 7 percent.

I’m young, which is an asset. I have energy and passion. I think I’d be a change from so many of the people in office who are entrenched. It’s almost like they’re tenured. Political office is meant to be passed from generation to generation and among different demographics. They go to extreme lengths not to have new people in office. If the people of White Plains decide they want the same people, then they do. But let them decide.

If elected, what are the three biggest goals you'd work to accomplish?

I want to make it a more business friendly city. We get 30 percent of our revenue from sales taxes and we get 5 percent from parking tickets. So obviously let’s bring sales up and stop overly pursuing parking. I want to reduce the aggressiveness of the parking enforcement in the city. I want to reduce property taxes.

And we need ethics reform. Councilman (David) Buchwald proposed ethics reform, but it doesn’t go far enough. If an ethics committee can hide a report on (former mayor Adam) Bradley on demand, that’s not an ethics committee.

I want to change the attitude in the city and that includes a lot. It involves beautifying the city, keeping it cleaner, keeping public employees happy, treating them like family. There have been a lot of layoffs and then the mayor hired his own press secretary. If layoffs have to be, they have to be. But we should do everything in our power not to do that. If we make simple changes, the attitude of the public employees will change and the attitude of residents will change. It’ll be a better city. Let’s bring the city spirit back from five years ago, back to how it was under Mayor (Joseph) Delfino.

Has the local government made any mistakes or had any oversights that you'd try to avoid?

Laying off numerous employees to hire your own campaign staff was a mistake, and paying $40,000 for a website after the IT head quit.

What's the best part of White Plains?

The best thing is the people. Cities aren’t made of brick and mortar. They’re made of people.

Other related experience:

- Volunteer fireman in Purchase

Will you vote in the Nov. 8 election? Are there any additional questions you'd like us to ask candidates? What would you like to see city hall accomplish in the coming term? Join the conversation below.

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