Braunstein thanks voters at inauguration

Braunstein thanks voters at inauguration
During his inaugural speech, freshman state Assemblyman Edward Braunstein (c.) went around the room thanking people including state Senator Tony Avella (l.) and District Leader Carol Gresser (r.). Photo by Christina Santucci
By Connor Adams Sheets

Queens leaders gathered in Auburndale Sunday afternoon to ring in the beginning of Ed Braunstein’s career as a state assemblyman.

The Bayside Democrat was feted with a triumphant inauguration ceremony at the Auburndale American Legion Post No. 123 at 198-09 33rd Ave., which attracted local and national leaders alike to celebrate the swearing-in of the young politician.

“It turned out to be very nice. I think the whole event went off very well,” Braunstein said. “It was light, it was fun, and I also wanted to give my constituents the opportunity to meet some of their leaders in an intimate setting and they were all fantastic.”

Looking dapper in a pin-striped gray suit, Braunstein gave a gracious speech before a standing room-only crowd, thanking many of those who were gathered in the room as well as two people who were not: Ann-Margaret Carrozza, whom he replaced as the 26th District’s representative in the Assembly after she chose to step down with this year’s election, and former state Sen. Frank Padavan, a Republican who was ousted from his seat by longtime rival Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) after 38 years in that post.

Avella gave brief remarks at the event, after which he said he wished the best for Braunstein as the two delve into their new roles in Albany.

“When I speak at these inaugurations I always say I give the shortest speech,” Avella said. “I think he’s going to do a good job in Albany and I look forward to working with him.”

Braunstein said Carrozza would be remembered for her work with veterans and education and that though many people in the room did not agree with Padavan’s politics, there is no Democratic or Republican way to fix a pothole.

Braunstein was sworn in by Queens District Attorney Richard Brown with girlfriend Stephanie Stern by his side. Afterward, the couple hugged in celebration.

A number of local elected officials attended the event, including U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York), U.S. Reps. Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights) and Anthony Weiner (D-Forest Hills) and city Comptroller John Liu, as well as several of his new colleagues in the Assembly.

“I’m really excited to have Ed Braunstein as a new colleague,” state Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing) said from Albany Tuesday. “He’s really hitting the ground running and we’ve already had meetings with him on how we can help our constituents and the people of Queens, and I can say from up here that he is a very hard worker.”

Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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