OSSINING, N.Y. When Ossining village mayor William Hanauer asked Manuel Quezada in 2008 if he'd like to run for village trustee, Quezada said "no," but the question sparked some curiosity in Quezada.
"I was never into politics, but I became a little bit curious," Quezada said during an interview on Monday. "Instead of thinking all the time, 'What if someone does this?' I started to think, 'What about if I do it?'"
Three years later, Quezada is running on the Democratic, Independence Party and Working Families tickets for Ossining village trustee.
"I've met so many great people involved in politics within Ossining and I've been able to pick their brains a bit," Quezada said. "Everyone on the Democratic committee has helped me so much in the last couple months," he said, referring to the Ossining Democratic committee.
Quezada, 35, was born in Cuenca, Ecuador, and moved to Ossining when he was 15. He graduated from Ossining High School and after spending two years studying civil technology at Westchester Community College, he decided to pursue a Bachelor's in architecture at the New York Institute of Technology.
Quezada currently works at Atmosphere Design Group, a Mt. Kisco-based architecture firm that designs a lot of high-end retail buildings, such as Gucci and Louis Vuitton stores. He is working towards getting an architecture license next year.
About 10 years ago, Quezada purchased a house on Spring Street. He said he decided to get more involved in his community several years ago by joining Ossining's Historic Preservation Commission that is involved in expanding the landmarked area in downtown Ossining.
Quezada has been endorsed by the Hispanic Democrats in White Plains, who he said told him that he is the first Ecuadorean in Westchester to ever run for office.
"I have a lot resting on my shoulders," the candidate said.
If elected, Quezada would like to keep working on the consolidation of different municipal departments in order to save money and be more efficient, and to come up with different ways to attract more people and businesses to Ossining.
"I'd like to bring back the life that Ossining once had, to bring more local businesses into the downtown," Quezada said.
Quezada would also like to bring together an Ecuadorean commission in Ossining that could help inform the Ecuadorean population in Ossining about what is going on locally.
He has already reached out to the leaders of an Ecuadorean commission that organizes an annual Ecuadorean festival in Croton.
"I'd like to find different ways to get not only the Spanish-speaking community but also the rest of the community to help improve our community," Quezada said.
Quezada is running for one out of two Ossining village trustee seats along with Democratic running mate Bob Daraio. His opponents are Robert Fritsche and Robert Terilli, who are running on the Republican and Conservative party tickets.
The Ossining village trustee position is a part-time position that pays $8,000 per year.
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