By Connor Adams Sheets
The inauguration ceremony for state Assemblywoman Margaret Markey (D-Maspeth), who has represented her western Queens district since 1998, drew Democratic leaders and friends to the gala affair Sunday at Frank Kowalinski American Legion Post No. 4 at 61-57 Maspeth Ave.
The tone was upbeat but the remarks repeatedly mentioned her tough battle to win another term last year.
“Margie, I know that this was a tough re-election, but I am proud to say that you handled yourself with so much dignity and grace,” U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-Ridgewood) said.
In the contentious 2010 race, Markey received 9,745 Democratic votes to beat out Maspeth businessman and Community Board 5 member Tony Nunziato, who received 5,029 votes on the Republican line, 439 on the Independence Party line and 768 on the Conservative Party line, according to the city Board of Elections.
“Last year was a year of big change in government, but the 30th Assembly [District] voters spoke clearly about me and my work,” Markey said in her remarks after she took the oath of office.
Markey was sworn in by her husband, Judge Charles Markey, at the event, which also featured a singing performance by students from PS 229 in Woodside.
The inauguration ceremony was a joyous event celebrating Markey’s continuing service to the constituents in her district, but each of its speakers except for Markey herself — Velazquez, and U.S. Reps. Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights) and Anthony Weiner (D-Forest Hills) — made a point of bringing up the hard fight she had to win re-election.
Nunziato had accused Markey of not being a presence in the community in the run-up to the election, and they had clashed at a news conference over a plan to reroute trucks in the community. In his campaign, Nunziato focused on job creation, capping government spending, cutting taxes, fiscal responsibility and school vouchers. Markey’s campaign had emphasized her record and work to improve quality of life and creating a viable commercial district.
Crowley introduced the legislator with an extended speech, praising her for winning a contentious election and for rising above personal attacks during last year’s campaign cycle.
“The personal attacks that she sustained during this election and past elections have gotten out of hand …. Marge was a victim of that, and that’s what made this victory all that much more sweeter,” Crowley said.
Crowley finished his introduction with a tribute to the neighborhood where the event was held. “Everyone knows Marge Markey loves Maspeth.”
“So this is a good day for Maspeth to see one of its daughters serving in its state Legislature,” he said.
Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4538.