Andrew J. Spano, Westchester County Executive
Whether in government, politics or education, County Executive Andy
Spano has always been a leader with vision, recognized nationally
for his groundbreaking accomplishments.
As County Executive he brought Westchester into the national
spotlight with innovations that benefited local residents and served
as models for the country. As County Clerk, he revolutionized the
clerk’s office, gaining national recognition as an advocate for
reengineering government to save tax dollars and provide better
services. As an educator, he helped to found the United Federation
of Teachers, the largest, most prestigious teachers union in the
Elected by large margins in 1998, 2001 and 2005, County Executive
Spano was the second Democrat to be elected to the county’s highest
office. As County Executive, Mr. Spano has initiated dozens of
programs to improve the quality of life in Westchester: Programs
that protect the environment, encourage affordable housing, combat
domestic violence and enhance the security and safety of all county
A protector of the environment, Mr. Spano has preserved 2,300 acres
of open space from Yonkers to Yorktown and instituted programs to
protect water quality. He tripled, to $30 million, the County’s New
Homes Land Acquisition Fund, which helped builders of affordable
housing overcome the high cost of land. Under his administration,
the county expanded day care and instituted programs to protect
children against predators and addressed problems such as teen
drinking, smoking and obesity.
A strong, tireless advocate for people, he likes nothing better than
getting “out there” to talk and listen to his constituents. He has
worked to make government more accessible through the county's
award-winning website and through "Westchester Telecom," a
high-speed fiber optic network that links schools, libraries, local
governments and other public institutions.
As past president of County Executives of America, an
organization representing the interests of counties nationwide, Mr.
Spano has used his influence to make changes in state and national
policy. Throughout his tenure as County Executive, Mr. Spano has
brought Westchester into the national spotlight, with cutting edge
programs that have made Westchester first. As a board member of the
New York State Association of Counties, he was successful in getting
the state to reduce the cost of Medicaid to counties, lifting a
growing burden from local taxpayers. A groundbreaking lawsuit
against a local utility - a first - helped to reduce electric costs
for consumers who were being unfairly charged higher rates.
Mr. Spano is no stranger to firsts. In 1982, he became the first
person in Westchester history to win a countywide elective office
against an incumbent administrator. As County Clerk, Mr. Spano
introduced modern technology, tripling the amount of work done with
no increase in staff. Again he lobbied for wider changes, helping to
guide a law through the State Legislature that created a records
management improvement fund which benefited clerk’s offices
statewide. As County Clerk, he also developed a nationally renowned
Archives and Records Center, which provides access to the largest
public and private historical collections.
Mr. Spano’s love for history came from his 25 years as an educator.
Teaching social studies ultimately gave way to a career as an
administrator and advocate for children with special needs. An
innovator in his field, he started an alternative school for
children and ultimately became a founder and one of the leaders of
the United Federation of Teachers in New York City.
Mr. Spano has been recognized by many prestigious groups for his
contributions and accomplishments. He has been the recipient of
numerous awards in the areas of human rights, education, government
and labor. Some of these include: An honorary doctorate in
Commercial Affairs awarded by Pace University in 2004, The O’ Hare
Medal awarded by Fordham University’s School for Social Justice in
2005, the Westchester Arts Council's 2000 "Man of the Year" award;
The 2000 League of Conservation Voters award, The 1999 Guardian of
the Sound award for environmental protection of the Long Island
Sound; the Fight Hunger Award from the Westchester Coalition of Food
Pantries and Soup Kitchens; and the Special Achievement Award from
the New York State Federation of Police.
Born April 17, 1936, Mr. Spano grew up in the Bronx and holds
bachelor's and master's degrees from Fordham University. He and his
wife, Brenda Resnick Spano, live in Yorktown and have six grown
children and six grandchildren.
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