Katonah Elementary School’s fifth-grade students continued their study of U.S. Government with a special visitor on April 28 – Westchester County Legislator Francis Corcoran.
Leg. Corcoran was elected to the legislature in November to fill an unexpired seat. He is a graduate of John Jay High School, a Bedford resident and a former Bedford Town Board member.
During his visit, Leg. Corcoran explained the unique election process he participated in and shared that he represents a district of about 50,000 residents.
“My job is to represent the interest of all of those 50,000 people,” he said. “I represent your voice in White Plains.”
Students learned that the county legislature chamber, where the 17 representatives meet to discuss Westchester laws, holds furniture that has been used since the 1930s. Leg. Corcoran explained that a tough, but important part of the legislators’ jobs is to keep taxes as low as possible, while making sure the county is able to provide the necessary services to residents. This is an important discussion that occurs each year as the budget is formed, he shared.
“First and most importantly, we have to consider the protection of citizens,” he said. “And taxes pay for all of the services we provide.”
While Leg. Corcoran said there are many differences between county government, state government and federal government, he likened Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino to the “president” of the county. He also said each legislator is a member of multiple committees that have to review bills before they become laws. Leg. Corcoran chairs the county’s Environment and Health Committee.
While government is an important entity that serves to protect its citizens, Leg. Corcoran said, he also underscored the importance of citizen participation.
“Don’t be afraid to express your opinion in a respectful way,” he advised students. “It is important to stand up for yourself and know that your voice is heard.”