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Westchester County Legislators Gather to Honor Lois Bronz


White Plains, NY — The Westchester County Board of Legislators paid tribute one of its own Monday night, February 26, honoring pioneering former Chairwoman Lois Broz with a special memorial tribute that drew an unprecedented crowd of 19 former legislators from across the political spectrum, including six former Board Chairs.

Bronz was the first African American woman to be elected to the Board in 1994 and was the first African American to serve as its chair, from 2002-2004.  She died on February 12 at the age of 90.

Current Board Vice Chair Alfreda Williams presented Bronz's daughter, Francine Taplin Shorts, with a memorial resolution honoring Bronz for her years of public service and leadership; and many of Bronz’s former colleagues – including County Executive George Latimer, a one-time Chair of the Board of Legislators, and State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, a former County Legislator, among others – spoke emotionally about their admiration for the late legislator.

“Lois gave you her heart and her soul in every issue,” said Sen. Stewart-Cousins. “She fought tirelessly for children; she fought tirelessly for housing, affordable housing; she fought tirelessly for daycare; she fought tirelessly for human rights and justice.”

County Executive Latimer recounted a visit he made with Bronz to the Theodore D. Young Community Center in Greenburgh when they were colleagues on the Board.  The young people at the Center “looked at Lois in a way that they don't look at...other politicians,” County Executive Latimer remembered.  “They looked at her, and I could only imagine that they were looking at her not only as a person of dignity and stature, but they were young black women, little girls, and they were looking at this black woman who had authority and who had power and status and she had accomplished something, and perhaps the greatest battle that occurs with people who grow up with these barriers to overcome is the belief that you can become something...."

He added, “They looked at her with a respect and a love and understanding that she was a role model.”

Current Deputy County Executive, and former Board Chair Kenneth Jenkins said, "I'm privileged to be able to say that I was the second African American Chair of the Board of Legislators, and I always tell people that 'cause I knew on whose shoulders...I stood."  He added, “No one [else] could have gotten all the legislators in the room...Lois brought us all here and that is a reason for us to continue to work as hard as we can.”

Former Board Chair William J. Ryan, said that in these times when many people have lost faith in government, leaders should learn from Lois’ example. “One of the keys is that you need good, decent, caring people in public service,” he said. “Every person in this room know that Lois Bronz was a good, decent, caring person.”

“Lois was a trailblazer and ahead of her times,” said current Board Chair Ben Boykin. “She opened doors, broke the glass ceiling and paved the way for others to follow. We are truly blessed to have had such a forward thinking leader to serve the people of our great County.”

Others former County Legislators on hand included former Chairs Herman Geist, William Ryan and George Oros; as well as Jose I. Alvarado, Paul Feiner -- now Greenburgh town supervisor; Sandra R. Galef -- now New York State Assemblywoman for the 95th district;  Ron Tocci – currently Director of Veterans Affairs; Paul Noto; James Maisano -- now County Director of Consumer Affairs; John Nonna -- currently Westchester County Attorney; Michael Spano – now Mayor of Yonkers; Pearl Quarles; Vito Pinto; Martin L. Rogowsky; Richard G. Wishnie; Alan Cole and Clinton I. Young Jr.


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