2021 Candidate Profile: Hagadus-McHale for Mt Pleasant Town Council
PLEASANTVILLE, NY – In the 2021 general election, residents of the Hudson Valley will vote for local elected officials. In anticipation, Patch has asked candidates in contested races to answer questions about their campaigns and will post candidate profiles as Election Day approaches.
Francesca Hagadus-McHale is running for election to the Mount Pleasant Town board of directors in November. A foreign language teacher, she served on the board for a year in 2018-19 after a special election, the first Democrat in 30 years to do so.
Hagadus-McHale and Evan Echenthal challenge incumbents Laurie Rogers-Smalley and Thomas A. Sialiano.
Learn more about her here.
Check out the full Patch Q&A with Francesca Hagadus-McHale:
Why are you looking for an elective position?
I want to bring more transparency, accountability and energy to the Town of Mount Pleasant Board of Directors
The most pressing issue facing our nation / state / community is _______, and that’s what I intend to do about it.
An intelligent development that preserves our open spaces.
What are the critical differences between you and other candidates for this position?
I have experience outside of the small portion of the Town of Mount Pleasant that the other candidates believe they represent. There has been a constant contempt for the fact that we are one city, rich in the diversity found in its villages and hamlets.
How has the current board or incumbent let down the community?
My opponents have been less than transparent in their activities. Agendas for working sessions are not published in advance and emails are not shared with the entire Council. The truth about the scope of a project is not always told to the residents concerned.
I am convinced that a municipal council can only be effective if it is balanced. A city council must be able to define problems, debate solutions and reach consensus. If a city council is not balanced, it risks being isolated from the city’s diverse population and solutions become buffers. As a member of the Mount Pleasant Town Board of Directors, I intend to strike this balance by honoring tradition and embracing diversity.
Describe the other issues that define your campaign platform
Active and focused on finding solutions
Take timely action on resident issues
Develop communication and awareness
Actively engage federal, state and departmental resources
Smart projects that meet Mount Pleasant’s needs
Holding the line with taxes and broadening the base through sustainable growth
Celebrate our history and welcome new residents
Tap into the strength of different life experiences and points of view.
Promote the fabric and dynamism of our community
What accomplishments in your past would you cite as proof that you can handle this job?
In a special election in 2018, I was the first Democrat elected to city council in 30 years. I lost my re-election to a four-year term by some 300 votes in a city that has over eleven thousand Democrats against eight thousand Republicans. My experience during this year of service has given me insight into how city council works and what needs to be changed.
The best advice ever shared with me was:
I have always been an activist in favor of human rights and justice. My mother survived the Holocaust but lost everything as a teenager. She taught me to analyze situations and characters, and to inspire others to do good, despite the darkness that life sometimes reveals. I brought this to my teaching and to my political life. I wonder what’s the next right thing to do and how I can keep pushing it forward.
What would you like voters to know about yourself and your positions?
I was born in the United States and moved to Mexico with my family when I was six years old. My father went to medical school in Mexico City. I attended French school in Mexico until I was eleven when we returned to the United States. I finished college at Pocantico Hills School in Mount Pleasant, which at the time fed Sleepy Hollow High School. My parents moved to Bedford after my dad resided at Westchester Medical Center, so I graduated from Marymount High School in Tarrytown. I went to Georgetown University where I studied languages and linguistics. I have lived and traveled all over the world and returned to Westchester to start teaching French and Spanish at Chappaqua in 1982. I taught there for 32 years, before retiring and teaching in long-term leave replacement throughout Westchester County. My husband and I bought our home in Pleasantville in 1993 when my oldest son, Timothy, was born. We raised him in Pleasantville alongside his younger brother Thomas whom we adopted in Poland in 1999.