Nyack’s mayor for the past six years has accepted a job with the Champlain Hudson Power Express transmission project.
Jen Laird White, who announced that she would not run for re-election almost a year ago, has started a new job as Director of Community Relations for Transmission Developers Inc. (TDI), a company that plans to install a power transmission line from the Canadian border to New York City. The Mayor of Nyack is a part time position at which Laird White has worked almost fulltime during her three two-year terms.
“I have loved being mayor of my wonderful village and was a bit worried because I knew I was going to miss it,” said Laird White. “I am delighted that I can take the knowledge and skills I gained as mayor and apply them to something else I feel passionately about, clean energy, working with residents and other government officials and supporting a healthier planet.”
“We are delighted to have Jen join our development team,” said TDI CEO Donald Jessome. “Jen understands that clean energy infrastructure development requires a thoughtful approach aimed at building community consensus.”
Laird White served one term as a Village Board Trustee from 2010-11 before becoming Nyack’s mayor in 2012. Earlier in her career she worked as a producer and an on-air correspondent for CBS News.
During the eight years that Laird White’s has served as an elected official, Nyack has seen many changes. Village property owners have been delighted with two consecutive years of no tax increase; in Laird White’s first year as a Village Board member, taxes went up nine percent. Nyack’s first fulltime village administrator was hired in 2010 to run day-to-day VH business. An innovative — and still controversial — 11a-6p / 11p-6a parking policy was implemented in 2012 to encourage restaurant business while getting late night bar patrons to underwrite the cost of early morning sidewalk clean ups. During the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy when Nyack was without power for eight days, Laird White held daily “town hall” meetings on the steps of Nyack Village Hall informing residents of progress to restore services and sharing information about community resources that were available for neighbors in need.
In addition to her work on the village board, Jen Laird-White’s founded the Nyack Park Conservancy and served on the board of the Edward Hopper House. She also served on NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo’s New NY Bridge Mass Transit Task Force.
“I look forward to serving TDI, my neighbors and stakeholders throughout New York State with the skills I developed as a champion for Rockland County communities,” said Laird-White. “As an advocate and mayor, I worked to improve our community by listening intently and translating residents’ goals into positive proactive actions. I am excited to apply these skills in the private sector.” Although TDI is not requesting permits or approvals from the Village of Nyack, the mayor will recuse herself from any TDI- or energy-related issues that may arise before her term ends on December 31, 2017.
When completed, the Champlain Hudson Power Express Project will bring 1,000 megawatts of clean energy to New York City. TDI says it’s good for the environment and the economy, reducing energy costs by $650 million and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2.2 million metric tons per year. The 333-mile HVDC transmission line will be installed underwater and underground predominantly along existing rights-of-way.