Residents of the 27th state Assembly District began a new era for their community as they welcomed the first new Assembly member in nearly three decades to represent Flushing, Whitestone and Fresh Meadows.
Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz (D-Flushing) appeared at a formal ceremony Sunday before various borough and state officials, including Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan), Queens Democratic Chairman U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Jackson Heights) and Assemblyman Ed Braunstein (D-Bayside).
Simanowitz won the special election for the seat in September after his former boss and predecessor, Nettie Mayersohn, 86, announced her retirement from the Assembly after 28 years in office.
The new Assembly member, who was inaugurated by Mayersohn’s son Judge Lee Mayersohn, promised his constituents at the Electrical Industry Center on Parsons Boulevard in Pomonok that he would carry on the good work she has done over the years.
“Thank you for showing me ?the kind of elected official I want to be,” he told her.
The 27th District also includes the neighborhoods of College Point, Forest Hills, Kew Gardens Hills, Electchester, Pomonok, Briarwood, Kew Gardens and Richmond Hill.
The who’s who of elected officials applauded Mayersohn for her time in office and the various pieces of legislation and programs she supported. Mayersohn pushed for the passage of the Baby AIDS Law in 1996, which requires doctors to tell mothers if their babies are infected with the HIV virus.
“Nettie Mayersohn was known in the halls of the U.S. House of Representatives and the halls of the U.S. Senate,” Crowley said.
Mayersohn said she was humbled by the support.
“I want to thank you for the support you gave me as an assemblywoman for 28 years,” she said.
Crowley told Simanowitz, who served as Mayersohn’s chief of staff for 15 years, that the best way to be an effective leader was to reach out to the other aisle and show voters that government can be bipartisan.
“People need a restoration of their faith in government. Michael, my suggestion to you is to make a lot of friends,” Crowley said.
Silver said Simanowitz has already proven to be a strong leader during his first two months in office and will be a major contributor to Albany.
“We look forward to your contributions to our efforts. We know you will serve your constituents and the house with loyalty, patience, honor and integrity,” he said.
Simanowitz said he is focused on several issues, but the top one is boosting the state’s economy and encouraging job growth. He noted that one in six New Yorkers is either underemployed or unemployed, which has caused a huge exodus of young adult residents.
“New York needs to lead, not follow, when it comes to job growth,” he said.
The new assemblyman added that his office is always open and he will be taking the community’s interests and concerns very seriously.
“I may be one of the new kids on the block, but I will run to help the people of the state,” he said.
Christina Santucci contributed to this article.