Mayor swears in Eric Ulrich as Councilmember

The room erupted in thunderous applause as City Councilmember Eric Ulrich took his unofficial oath of office – administered by Mayor Michael Bloomberg – on Sunday, March 15.

“He [Ulrich] will do a great job and this city will benefit from it,” said Bloomberg, who joked that at 24, he could not just be Ulrich’s father, but grandfather.

In fact, Ulrich’s grandparents, as well as his great-grandfather, attended the ceremony at Howard Beach’s P.S. 207, and were given special tribute by one of the youngest members ever to be elected to the City Council.

Ulrich was elected to represent the 32nd Council District on Tuesday, February 24 in a Special Election. He fills the seat vacated by Senator Joseph Addabbo.

“We worked day and night [on his campaign],” said Scott Jordan of Ozone Park.

“We elected [President] Barack Obama because we needed a change,” said Rosemary Ciulla-Frisone of the Ronald Reagan Republican Club of Howard Beach. “And that’s how we feel about Eric.”

The results were to be certified on Tuesday, March 17 by the New York City Board of Elections (BOE), and Ulrich will officially be sworn in by the City Clerk “as soon as possible” thereafter.

But on Sunday, March 15, as nearly 500 people came out to support the new Councilmember, Father Francis Colamaria, pastor of Holy Child Jesus Church, delivered the opening benediction by thanking God “for Eric’s opponents in the race [Lew Simon, Geraldine Chapey and Mike Ricatto],” to which the audience replied with raucous laughter.

“I wanted to see him sworn in,” said Marie Cazzalino as she sat in the audience. “He is young, ambitious – we need new faces.”

Dr. Frank J. Macchiarola, former New York City Public Schools Chancellor and former President of St. Francis College – of which Ulrich is an alumnus – served as the Master of Ceremonies for the event.

With great pride, Macchiarola informed the audience of how he’s always known Ulrich to be smart and ambitious – of how he always knew he would achieve great things.

“It’s a remarkable achievement,” he said, noting that Ulrich’s campaign was a grassroots one. “It’s absolutely something to be proud of.”

When Bloomberg took the stage, he shared “tips for success” with Ulrich, which included “Laugh at Councilmember Simcha Felder’s jokes,” and attend Council sessions “because the New York Post counts [attendance].”

After Ulrich recited the oath and the audience, – many still waving campaign signs – cheered, the new Councilmember joked, “I paid them to do that.”

“Each and every one of you has been a part of who I am today and I want to thank you for coming,” he continued. “I will work closely with all of my colleagues” to empower local businesses to remain open and allow people struggling to pay their mortgages stay in their homes.”

He vowed, “From this moment on, my life, my entire being will be dedicated to the people – I’m not a benchwarmer, I’m not a placeholder – I’m here to serve.”

Macchiarola then thanked those in attendance – many of whom worked on Ulrich’s campaign – including Tom Ognibene, State Supreme Court Justice Augustus C. Agate, Democratic District Leader Frances Abbracciamento, Jane Deacy, Republican District Leader, State Senator Marty Golden, former Councilmember Al Stabile, Republican County Leader Phil Ragusa, and Queens County Conservative Party Leader Tom Long.

Rabbi Tzvi Berkowitz of the Rockwood Park Jewish Center then delivered the closing blessing with “May the future journey of Honorable Eric Ulrich be one of peace.”

A reception and meet-and-greet followed the ceremony.

Ulrich will serve as Councilmember through the end of the year, but he will have to run again in November, when all of the 51 Council seats are up for grabs.

Many of his supporters are already gearing up.

“This is a very proud day, bit it is only the beginning, I’m sure,” said Deacy. “He has many more miles to go.”

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