By Bill Parry
When Attorney General Eric Holder announced last week that he had submitted his resignation after nearly six years as the first black leader of the Justice Department, Queens leaders reflected on the legacy of the man who grew up in East Elmhurst.
“Seeing someone from the neighborhood rise to attorney general of the United States has long been a source of enormous pride for this community,” state Sen Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) said. “Eric Holder’s legacy in the areas of civil rights, criminal justice reform and in standing up for the poor and disenfranchised is something that he and all Americans can be profoundly proud of.”
Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras (D-East Elmhurst), who was born and raised in neighboring Corona said, “East Elmhurst is proud of its son. Attorney General Eric Holder made many difficult decisions and opened many doors for young men in our community during his tenure. We commend him for his service to his country.”
During Holder’s tenure, the fourth longest in that position, he led the fight against voter restrictions in north Carolina and Texas, supported Edith Windsor’s challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act, and for the first time in decades, according to President Obama, both crime and incarceration rates declined simultaneously by nearly 10 percent.
“Eric has done a superb job,” the president said.
Holder did have some lows such as the fumbled attempt to try the 9/11 terrorists in New York City, the failed Fast & Furious gunrunning investigation and the lack of criminal prosecutions from his department’s investigation of the 2008 financial collapse.
Holder will remain the head of the Justice Department until a replacement is approved by the Senate. “I hope I have done honor to the faith you have placed in me, Mr. President,” he said during his announcement.
U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Jamaica) said, “He also sought to repair relations between communities of color and law enforcement, an initiative that is much needed given recent tragedies. I applaud all of Mr. Holder’s hard work, and our nation owes him a debt of gratitude for his service and sacrifice.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4538.