Chilly rain drove a Hempstead Village press conference indoors, but could not dampen its ebullient mood on March 18.
Speaking in the Village Hall courtroom, Mayor-Elect Waylyn Hobbs, Jr., outlined his vision for the next four years. After thanking voters, he promised accountability from village government. He cited “the high taxes that you pay,” saying that he and his administration “want a proactive approach, making sure that we provide the services that you deserve.”
Hobbs then addressed progress in law enforcement that has occurred while he has been trustee under Mayor Ryan. He specifically referenced the recent Mayor’s Police Reform and Reinvention Committee (PRRC), an extraordinary coalition of village government, police chiefs, state and county legislators, organization leaders, and regular citizens. This group has convened biweekly since October 2020 to review law enforcement policy, per Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order 203 (EO203).
Hobbs and his administration will oversee implementation of the committee’s recommendations.
With regard to village economy, Hobbs promised “smart development, which, not just during the development stage, but even after development, will bring long-term job opportunities.”
Though the Hempstead school district is a separate jurisdiction under New York State law, Hobbs stated his hope “to work with the Superintendent of Schools, also the president of the Board of Education, to let them know that we’re no longer separate. We want to work together to see not only our schools improve, but our entire village improve.”
Hobbs then introduced the other newly elected officials.
Trustee-elect Clariona Griffith runs a daycare in the village and is president of the Hempstead Chamber of Commerce. Trustee-elect Kevin Boone has put in decades of service to Hempstead as an employee, volunteer firefighter, and a member of both the Hempstead Community Land Trust and the Fair Housing Task Force for Nassau County. Brianna Vaughan, 28, is a Hempstead native and its youngest-ever village justice.
Naming his top priorities after being sworn in, Hobbs reiterated, “the first and most important thing to me is -- again – accountability.”
Returning to the topic of crime control, he said, “I am proud to announce that recently there have been some major arrests when it comes to guns and drugs.” These arrests were accomplished by a multi-agency effort, “but it was Hempstead’s investigative unit that was able to initiate this. It wouldn’t happen without the work of the men and women of the Hempstead Police Department.”
Hobbs closed his general remarks by saying, “I want you to know that I am the mayor of every resident in the Village of Hempstead – black, white, Hispanic.” Hempstead, which is over 47% Hispanic, has rarely had a Hispanic village trustee. Though none of the new officials is Hispanic, Hobbs emphasized his willingness to work with “some of the other candidates that ran,” including the Hispanic mayoral candidate Herb Flores.
“We can’t be a divided community and grow,” Hobbs said. “and so I’m willing to work with anyone that has some ideas to bring to the table.”