By Phil Corso
The borough’s newest state Assembly members kicked off their historic journeys as Queens representatives this week with two star-studded swearing-in ceremonies.
Over the weekend, state Assembly members Ron Kim (D-Flushing) and Nily Rozic (D-Fresh Meadows) held separate celebrations in the company of family, friends, community leaders and elected officials from all levels of government.
In both ceremonies, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) made an appearance, as he did weeks earlier at the inauguration ceremony for President Barack Obama, to share his optimism for Queens and the rest of the country.
“This is what America is all about,” Schumer said at Kim’s swearing-in ceremony, remarking on his status as the first Korean-American lawmaker in the state of New York. “It means little Asian-American boys and girls will look at Ron and say, ‘Maybe I can be president one day.’ It is a great day for this great community.”
Kim beat out Republican Phil Gim in November’s general election with more than 65 percent of the vote for Flushing’s 40th Assembly District, according to the city Board of Elections, and secured his spot as successor to former Assemblywoman and now U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing).
“You are in very good hands,” Meng said to her constituents. “I am so proud that my boys now have a wonderful role model in Ron Kim.”
Kim was congratulated and praised Saturday in a crowded swearing-in ceremony at the Queens Library of Flushing.
“In a time when we have so many challenges, there is no better leader, representative or fighter than Ron Kim,” said city Comptroller John Liu, who administered Kim’s oath in the same spot where he was once sworn in to the City Council 11 years ago. “This is a very proud moment for all of us.”
In the company of his family and colleagues, Kim recited the oath to office before a booming display of cheers.
“I am the living proof that this country is still great and the American Dream is still there,” Kim said. “You just have to work hard at it. I am so grateful for this opportunity to represent you.”
Rozic held her swearing-in celebration the following day on Sunday at Townsend Harris High School in Fresh Meadows, where she was once a student. Elected officials from the city, state and federal government showered her in praise and high hopes as they celebrated the district’s first Argentinian-Israeli woman to hold office.
In November, Rozic won the 25th Assembly District seat with more than 67 percent of the vote, according to the BOE. The former chief of staff for Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh (D-Manhattan) wasted no time raising the same issues on which she campaigned when addressing her audience at the ceremony.
“It has been an extraordinary year, for our state and our country, and an incredible time for me to get to work to make our community a better place to live, work and raise a family,” Rozic said. “I look forward to serving my constituents to bring better, quality education to our schools, affordable health care for our seniors and accessible services for our growing immigrant communities.”
Throughout her ceremony, elected officials remarked on 26-year-old Rozic’s journey to state government at such a young age, crediting her success to hard work and old-fashioned campaigning.
“She got here the old-fashioned way. She earned it,” Schumer said. “I know she will do a great job in the Assembly because she is just the person we need.”
Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.