R5 Q&A with Croton-on-Hudson Village Trustee Kevin Davis, Westchester’s Youngest-Ever Elected Official

At just 23 years old, Kevin Davis, a Croton-on-Hudson village trustee, is Westchester’s youngest-ever elected official.

Was your childhood particularly influenced by politics? My dad is chair of Croton’s zoning board, and my mom was on the school board. My grandfather was on the recreation commission during the fifties and sixties. Politics was discussed, but I was never really interested. I became politically active on the John Hall campaign when he ran for Congress in 2006.

How did you decide to run for a position on the Croton-on-Hudson board? I was always a supporter of the Democratic Party locally. Typically, if you want to run, you go to the party and get their support. The thing I did was to announce my candidacy publicly. I had gone to the party but was told that I was too young.

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What did your campaign involve? My competition in the primary was a longtime village trustee, Ann Gallelli, who had been active in village affairs since before I was born. I spent the whole summer knocking on doors. A lot of volunteers were personal friends. I asked everyone who supported me to write a letter to The Gazette [a local weekly], so I flooded the newspaper. The voter turnout was 35 percent. I couldn’t find any primary in the state where the turnout was that high.

As a candidate, what platform issues did you run on? The campaign was not really about policy. [Ann and I] agreed on a lot. Publicly, from her side it was, ‘We like Kevin Davis, but we don’t think he’s ready to be a trustee.’ On my side, it was, ‘I’m the candidate with the energy and the only independent voice.’

But Gallelli is still a trustee now, correct? While I outpolled Ann Gallelli in both the primary and the general elections, the top two finishers in each election were the ones that got elected. Once I won the primary, Ann Gallelli and I were the only two candidates whose names appeared on the ballot for the general election, so we were both elected.

What’s your most amusing campaign story? The typical story involves knocking on a door. I wouldn’t recognize the person, but they’d say, ‘Oh, Kevin! I knew you when you were this big…’ and put their hand to the height of their knee.

What does a village trustee do? A trustee is like a city councilman. I’m involved with setting the $17-million budget, zoning, trash pickup, and the water system. The position is part-time. I get three grand and the use of an iPad.

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Since this is only part-time, what else are you doing? I am a senior studying political science at Hunter College. I graduate in the fall.

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