Andrew O'Rourke, Westchester County Executive, 1983-1997

Andrew Patrick O'Rourke was appointed as sixth county executive in 1983 to replace Mr. Del Bello, who resigned to become Lt. Governor. He was re-elected to four-year terms in 1985, 1989 and 1993.

Mr. O'Rourke's political career started as a member of the Yonkers City Council from 1966 to 1973 followed by nine years as member of the County Board of Legislators, 1973-1982, including the last four years as chairman. He realized that although Westchester is known for its affluence, as County Executive he had to become more involved in people care, helping the poor and homeless, meeting the need for affordable housing, safeguarding the quality of our environment and ensuring adequate future water supplies. He resurrected Croton Point Park, returning it to recreational use after it had been used as a dump. Known as a fiscal conservative, he was noted for efforts to reduce welfare rolls, to keep taxes down and tax revenues stable and to cut government costs by privatizing some county jobs. He pushed through multimillion-dollar projects to rebuild the Westchester County Center, renovate Westchester County Airport and expand the county jail.

Andrew Patrick O'Rourke was born October 26, 1933, in Plainfield, N.J., and grew up in the Hell's Kitchen area of Manhattan. He had an occasional part as a child actor on stage and television. Mr. O'Rourke moved to Yonkers and graduated from Fordham College in 1954. After serving in the U.S. Air Force, he returned to Fordham for his law degree and was admitted to the bar in 1962. Mr. O'Rourke enrolled in NYU School of Law and obtained his LLD in 1965.

Mr. O'Rourke did not seek re-election in 1997 and was appointed by Governor Pataki to the New York Court of Claims. He was elected to a 14-year term on the New York Supreme Court in November 2000. He is also the author of two adventure novels: "Red Banner Mutiny" (1985) and "Hawkwood" (1989).  Mr. O'Rourke passed away on January 3, 2013 at the age of 79 after a long illness.