by Ed Day, Rockland County Executive
Ed Day took the oath of office on Jan 1 as only the the third county executive in Rockland’s history. Here is the text of his inaugural address.
Welcome to the Rockland County Fire and Emergency Services Center, a place dedicated to keeping all in this county safe, and where everyday heroes regularly pass through. As a former first responder, I am honored to have this inaugural event held here, and I thank all of you for taking the time to be here today.
Thanks to Clarkstown town justice, Judge Craig Johns, for taking the time to administer the oath of office. Craig, we share much with RCC and the law enforcement community, and I am honored and privileged to have you here with me today.
My wife Jean has been my inner strength for over 30 years, allowing me to be my very best. Beautiful yet tough, this cop’s wife and soldier’s mom always puts everyone else first and is the mortar that bonds our family. I will say something to her today that i should say more often; I thank you and I love you.
I have been blessed to see my two sons, Chris and Mike, grow straight and strong, and as witnessed by their service to this country in time of crisis, they walk the walk. I am extraordinarily proud of all the accomplishments they have already achieved in their young lives. I rejoice in mentioning that we will have our beautiful new daughter Jenn when she marries Chris this fall, and of course I thank God each and every day for my most special gift – my grandson C.J.
There is an over arching traditional sense to New Years day. It is an ideal day to stand here in front of you, as it speaks to something familiar to all – a chance to dispel some of what is past; and look forward with hope and belief to better times in the coming year.
But to take that step, to turn that page, we need to both confront and challenge a past that like quicksand holds us in a place where we as Rocklanders do not deserve to be. So today, less than 12 hours after the ball dropped in Times Square ushering in a new year, let’s all of us, together, challenge and dispel that here and now, always and forever.
Yes, our county is in crisis. Only those not paying attention could dispute that. And we have major issues on a number of fronts.
We have a significant deficit that hovers at about $145 million, creating understandable unease with families across this county.
Public corruption, arrests of elected officials, FBI investigations all too often fill the news, shaking our very core of what should be a belief in our government and those given the public trust.
We see shouting and anger between different groups whether it be ethnic, religious, racial – even civil servant and private sector workers, overshadowing what should be the obvious fact – that we are all neighbors.
And not surprisingly, there is a cloud of negativity hanging over all of us.
There is no magic wand – none of this will be fixed overnight – and what we embark upon today is a journey not a quick trip. But let us recognize that while we cannot ignore the realities that face us, we can certainly confront them and together, with courage and determination on our side, we will prevail over them. Today, we embark upon an era of renewal.
It is no secret that the reason for my standing here today is because of the grass roots of our community.
The civic associations, our seniors, the public and private school associations, the coaches and parents of the players, the local businesses that fuel the economic engine of our county, and so many more.
It is from your ranks I come and it is on your shoulders I stand tall. So if some are surprised at my optimism, recognize that optimism – that strength – comes from all of you.
Over the next few days, weeks and months, you will see the bold actions already brought forth continue. There will be surprise in some quarters, angst in others, but satisfaction by most knowing we will govern in a balanced manner, with fair treatment for all, and special preference for none.
- That my actions will be transparent to all.
- To partner with our federal, state, school, and all local administrations to seek and implement strategies designed to stem the tide of ever increasing property taxes.
- That those gaming our federal, state or local programs will be pursued and prosecuted. We will neither tolerate nor accept fraudulent behavior.
- To outreach to all communities whether you supported me or not to help reform Rockland.
- That our county employee’s work will be valued and they will not be subjected to political pressure. Together we will deliver the services our constituents deserve and are paying for.
- That corruption of any kind will not be tolerated and those engaged in such behavior will be discharged and prosecuted to the fullest extent possible.
Know that we will stay true to the precepts of our campaign – to right our fiscal ship by creating a lean, efficient government; engage in a course of aggressive economic development, stemming the reliance on taxes to fund government; and preserve the character of our county by addressing both irresponsible overdevelopment and the slumlords who risk the lives of our citizens and volunteer firefighters.
I am very proud of the fact that over the few weeks since the election, there seems to be a renewed hope. Many people I have spoken with sense there is real opportunity to turn this county around. I am honored by your support and humbled by your belief in me.
When President Ronald Reagan first took office some 30 plus years ago, he said “the crisis we are facing today does require our best effort and our willingness to believe in ourselves, to believe in our capacity to perform great deeds, to believe that together with God’s help we can, and will, resolve the problems which now confront us.”
I am here today to tell you that yes, you should believe in that growing sense of hope. More importantly, we should take heed to the words of president reagan and believe in ourselves. I want local residents of all ages and backgrounds to know that Rockland County will be moving forward, that we are a community with a shared vision, that we have a direction, and we will get there together.
I love this county. This is the place that Jean and I adopted to raise our family. We have been rewarded with a lifetime of memories and lifelong friends. In my mind I owe Rockland county a lot, and I will not waver, falter, nor rest until we return this county to the greatness we all know Rockland should be known for.
In closing, I sincerely thank you for taking the time today to be part of another slice of the history of Rockland. And my gratitude to the staff of the fire and emergency services center, as well as to all who volunteered their time and efforts to make this event so special.
From my family, Jean and I, Chris, Jenn, and C.J.; and Michael, we extend to the community of Rockland our very best wishes for a happy and prosperous New Year. And let us all have a good thought and prayer for those serving our country in the armed forces of the United States of America. Never forget it is they, and their comrades before them, who secure the right for us to be part of this wonderful democracy. Let our actions in life always be weighed by their sacrifice. God bless you all, and may God bless this great country of ours.