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White Plains Common Council Member Justin Brasch Runs for Reelection

Justin Brasch is a Democratic candidate for reelection to White Plains’ Common Council in Westchester’s local elections, which begin with early voting October 23-31, leading to Election Day on November 2. The Council is composed of the mayor of White Plains and six local representatives.

Brasch’s Jewish tradition inspires him to devote his life to public service: “It’s about Tikkun Olam, to make the world a better place,” he said.

Brasch has over 30 years of public service experience, beginning at age 17 as an intern for then-Congressman Ted Weiss. Brasch is a former member of the White Plains Planning Board. He served for over 10 years on the Westchester County Legislature’s Citizens Budget Advisory Committee, and is a member of the White Plains School Board Budget Advisory Committee and the White Plains Multi-Modal Transportation Center Stakeholder Task Force.

Brasch is also a former member of the Executive Committee of the New York State Democratic Party. He has served in leadership positions as a volunteer for nonprofit, advocacy and charitable organizations.

Reflecting on his work as a council member, Brasch noted: “I’m [so] proud of how we’ve expanded affordable housing in White Plains. It used to be only in the downtown business district. When I ran, the one thing that I ran on was expanding it citywide. If you put up a luxury building, you must make 13% affordable. If you build a multiple-family dwelling anywhere in White Plains, it needs to meet mandated affordable housing.

“We’re leaders in climate change and protecting the environment,” Brasch added. “We have a solar energy program for city government property that triples the amount of solar energy in the entire county. On top of our garages and recycling yards we’ve placed solar panels, leading in solar energy expansion. We work with developers to see if it’s more efficient to use solar energy.”

Expanding on environmental accomplishments, Brasch continued: “We’ve converted all of the lighting in our garages and on our streets to LED, which uses less energy and requires less maintenance, increased our bike lanes and racks, and our use of electric vehicles and charging stations. We’re going to have the first electric garbage truck in the state. We’re always expanding our open-space parkland, which is something that’s needed in White Plains.”

Brasch added: “I have also led the charge for open government. There’s a section of our council meetings called ‘Citizens to Be Heard.’ Citizens can say anything they want for three minutes, at the beginning of a council meeting. Before I came to the council, it wasn’t televised. Now, our full meetings and working sessions are.”

Brasch reflected that White Plains is one of the state’s fastest-growing cities. “Our comprehensive plan was very outdated, from 1997, and revised in 2006. I led the charge, and now started the process of a new plan for the entire city called ‘One White Plains.’ We’re trying to get input from all stakeholders in the city, so we can plan for large development in our city and growth that makes sense for everyone. Of course, it takes into account such things as solar energy and climate change.

“The thing I’m most proud of is that I’m the chairman of the White Plains Youth Bureau,” Brasch continued. “It’s the second-biggest youth bureau in the U.S.—2,000-3000 kids and 68 programs. You can learn anything in our Youth Bureau: STEAM. STEM, cooking, karate and SAT. We even have two flight simulators. If you cannot afford our programs, they’re free. It’s a great thing our city does to inspire children, to keep them busy and to give them exposure to what they can do with their lives.”

If reelected, Brasch wants to continue working on the city’s growth. “Every major developer wants to develop property in White Plains. We have to figure out how, in a way that’s in harmony with our city, protects our neighborhoods and allows growth in the downtown business district.”

Brasch, his wife and three children have lived in White Plains since 2003. He graduated Hunter College High School and Williams College, with a junior year abroad at Oxford. A graduate of YU’s Cardozo School of Law, he is a partner at the Law Offices of Justin C. Brasch in New York. In addition, he is chair of the White Plains Youth Bureau and serves on the Budget and Management Advisory Committee.

A member of the Hebrew Institute and Young Israel of White Plains, Brasch noted: “I’m the only Orthodox elected official in Westchester. I don’t know of any other Orthodox elected official who isn’t from a predominantly Orthodox neighborhood.

“I’ve devoted my life to public service,” he said. “I’m always accessible, helping constituents with issues and problems at every level of government. I am available 24/7, and I love this job helping people with real-world problems.”

By Judy Berger

 

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