Patterson-Howard Stuns In Mount Vernon Mayor's Race, Kenny Breaks Down Barriers As Next Orangetown Supervisor


MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Election night brought historic victories for two suburban women.

One’s a Democrat. The other, a Republican.

Neither has ever held office, but both say it’s time for ladies to lead.

Democrat Shawyn Patterson-Howard celebrated victory Tuesday night and savored the history Wednesday morning.

“I absolutely feel the weight of history on my shoulders. But for me it’s not just the weight of history, it’s the weight to transform our community,” Patterson-Howard said.

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She became the first woman elected mayor of Mount Vernon, and the first African-American woman chosen to lead any municipality in Westchester County.

“It sends a positive message and give women a chance. Equal rights for everybody,” resident Jackie Huggins said. “We had men all along, so we have a woman now.”

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The mayor-elect has never held office, but said her experience as a businesswoman and mother are powerful preparation for public service.

“I think we’re able to really put our egos to the side, and we’re able to build consensus,” Patterson-Howard said. “We have to do this in our homes with our children. They have different personalities and we always have to find a way to bring everyone together.”

Orangetown Supervisor-elect Teresa Kenny (Photo: CBS2)

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Across the Hudson River in the community of Orangetown, another suburban woman made history on Tuesday night.

In the race for supervisor, Republican Teresa Kenny defeated former town leader Thom Kleiner to become the first woman ever elected to lead a Rockland County town.

She has been working as an attorney in the basement of town hall, but now she moves up to the big office.

“Every supervisor has their own way of dealing with employees and things,” Kenny said. “I think I’m just gonna bring the female perspective, whatever that may be. I don’t want to say it’s more compassionate or more empathy, but I think it brings a little something to the job.”

Both women know they’ll be judged by results, not gender.

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