Democrat Thomas J. Burke and Republican Anthony J. Spagna faceoff to become the Town of Woodbury’s top municipal officer while Democratic incumbents Jacqueline Hernandez and Robert W. Hunter face challenges from Republicans Timothy P. Finnegan and Kathryn D. Luciani.
The Photo News asked each candidate these questions:
1. Personal information. I.E. job, community service, some people include their families, etc.
2. Why are you running for office and why should people vote for you?
3. What is the most critical issue before the town or village and what can be done about it?
Here are their responses:
Town of Woodbury Supervisor
Thomas J. Burke, Democrat, Conservative
I have lived in Woodbury for 52 years and have raised my four children here. I have been involved in the community by coaching youth sports and serving as a sports official. I have previously served on the Parks Commission and have been a Town Board member for the past two years. I was also very involved in negotiating the School Resource Officer program with the M-W School District.
I am running for office because I believe I can keep Woodbury the place where people were born/raised or moved here to raise children of their own. We have great services for all ages – seasonal parks and recreation, senior center activities and year-round library programs. I feel people should vote for me because I plan to continue to highlight family values and events that make our Town different from others, while also remaining budget conscious.
The most critical issue before the Town is the protection of the services we offer that are paid for with tax dollars. I plan to work with Departments closely to ensure that services continue to thrive while keeping taxes accountable. The public should see their money at work and this will be a priority of mine.
Anthony J. Spagna, Republican
I’m a proud father of two and a retired police officer, NYPD. I currently work for the Monroe-Woodbury school district. For years I have enjoyed volunteering at Saint Patrick’s and Sacred Heart parishes. I’m an active member in the Woodbury Fire Department.
I’m running for supervisor because I believe every Woodbury resident deserves a voice and to be treated fairly. As Supervisor I will work diligently with the Village’s Mayor to develop a strong new intermunicipal agreement that would protect both municipalities while benefitting all taxpayers. I will respect our police chief and department heads, knowing that they are in the best positions to oversee their staff and budgets. I will create legislation to reinstate our Woodbury Parks’ Commission and give autonomy back to our Library Board. Most importantly, I will encourage all residents to participate.
The most common concerns for residents seem to be taxes and dysfunction of the boards. Completing an immediate audit will be crucial to looking at expenditures and finding savings. Bringing both boards together to share ideas and develop a joint vision for Woodbury’s future is a priority. Thank you for your consideration!
Woodbury Town Board
Timothy P. Finnegan, Republican, One Woodbury
I have two children and have lived in Woodbury since 2020. I am a Highland Mills business owner, U.S. army veteran, volunteer firefighter since I was 16 and previously an EMT. Currently I am vice commander of American Legion Post 488, a state board member for the Selective Service system and a Orange County restaurant and tavern association board member.
I never expected to run for a town council seat, but after watching meetings and listening to issues of other residents I decided something needed to change. When board members allow their supervisor to verbally disrespect residents and they continuously vote in lockstep without explanation, it’s time to thank them for their service and move in a different direction. Residents deserve a fresh start and fresh ideas. I believe I can be part of that change.
Residents are tired of the toxic relationship with the Village. It’s cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in a lawsuit. We’ve missed opportunities for grant money, and chances for joint projects and shared services. As a councilman I would ask that we put our differences aside and start working together for the good of all Woodbury.
Jacqueline Hernandez, Democratic, Working Families
Mother of four; resident of Woobury since 2003; Business owner, educator, elected official and youth Advocate; Founder of the Upper Room Youth Center.
My family chose Woodbury to be our forever home in 2003. Woodbury encompasses all the special qualities of a small community that we value. I am honored to represent the families of Woodbury and Harriman and I seek to continue to protect our quality of life and maintain low taxes, and encourage open communication between local government and residents. With over 25 years of work experience, I seek to continue providing viable solutions to challenges impacting families within our town.
The Town and Village Boards work together to address critical issues impacting Woodbury. I have made several attempts to work with the Village over the past two year which includes: Proposal to share a grant writer (and costs) (Declined); application to the Revitalization Committee (Declined); Coordination with Village Board member to collaborate on Climate Smart Community efforts (Accepted), and Correction of illegal land swap from Town to Village (Approved). I seek to continue this work by proposing a quarterly meeting with the Village to the table to towards Board to accomplish community goals preserve and protect our community!
Robert W. Hunter, Democratic, Conservative
I am a lifetime resident of Woodbury, and have always been involved with my community through the Ambulance Corps, Fire Department, Chamber of Commerce, Lions Club and own a small family business in Woodbury.
I’m running for re-election to the Town Board because I want to continue my involvement in making Woodbury a desirable place to bring up a family. My previous two terms have given me a wealth of experience on all of the issues that cannot be replaced.
The most critical issue facing the Woodbury Boards is lack of Town/Village communication. Having two boards in Woodbury has been a challenge with co-ordinating ideas and policies that affect all of Woodbury. I proposed almost two years ago to have joint meetings with the Town and Village to discuss anything related to Woodbury, and to further better communication between the boards. Unfortunately, COVID hit, but this is what I will work on next year and I know my running mates are on on board with this idea.
Kathryn D. Luciani, Republican, One Woodbury
I am a homeowner since 2010, mother of five, member of the Village’s Revitalization Committee and Fire Recruiter for the Woodbury Fire Department. I am founder of We Are Woodbury (WAW), a volunteer group responsible for such events as the 2020 Christmas tree lighting, senior tea party and the gateway mural.
I decided to run for councilwoman to re-establish respect, transparency and cooperation for the residents. As president of WAW, I learned firsthand the current Town Board has no interest in listening to or partnering with Village officials or others outside their own little circle. By electing me, voters will get a councilwoman with boundless energy, who will conduct business efficiently and transparently. The rift with the Village will be mended. Residents will be respected and heard, even when offering different views.
The most critical issue facing Town residents is the lack of transparency, which has allowed for micromanagement, overbudgeting, questionable firings, nepotistic appointments, and costly suits against village officials. I will strive to end these practices with an independent audit, realistic need-based budgeting for all departments, appointments of those most qualified, honest communication, and a productive working relationship with the village.