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Mayor Thomas Roach to Serve as Rockefeller Recognition Ceremony Speaker


ALBANY, N.Y. (April 26, 2017) - Thomas Roach ’83, Mayor of White Plains, N.Y., will serve as Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy’s keynote speaker at the Undergraduate Recognition Ceremony on Saturday, May 20. The ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. in Page Hall at the University at Albany’s Downtown Campus. 

The first person in his family to earn a four-year degree, Tom received a bachelor’s in political science from UAlbany and his law degree from the University at Buffalo. 

Tom was elected to the White Plains Common Council in 2001. During his time on the council he focused on constituent service, sound fiscal management and the environment. Clean air restrictions on construction sites, which he spearheaded, remain part of the approval process in White Plains and have served as a model for other communities.

In February 2011 while serving as Council President, Tom became acting mayor upon resignation of his predecessor, and was elected mayor in a special election shortly thereafter.  He was re-elected in 2013, receiving 76 percent of the vote. 

As mayor, Tom has worked to maintain strong city services under difficult financial conditions, producing budgets which comply with the state mandated tax cap maintaining the city’s AA1 credit rating and improving its outlook to stable. He has pioneered the use of new communications technologies in an effort to keep residents informed, particularly during severe weather events. An ardent environmentalist, he pushed through the project to finally cap the city’s landfill, which closed more than 30 years ago, and passed Complete Streets legislation. Tom has spearheaded important environmental initiatives including passing legislation that phases out #4 and #6 heating oils, creating the first dedicated bike lanes in the county, and establishing a network of electric vehicle charging stations in municipally owned parking structures. 

Under his leadership, the city completed a complex transaction to take control of the dilapidated privately-held garage on Waller Avenue and replace it with a state of the art city owned garage which will provide needed parking and an economic boost to the city.  Tom’s long-term vision for the city is to continually enhance the downtown environment for businesses and residents while at the same time maintaining the strong neighborhoods that have long characterized White Plains. 

Tom served as a member of the Tappan Zee Bridge Mass Transit Task Force and is President of the New York Conference of Mayors.  He resides with his wife and two children, the fifth generation of his family to call White Plains home.

Visit Rockefeller’s Commencement 2017 page to learn more about all of the weekend’s events.