Leroy Comrie begins new chapter as state senator

By Juan Soto

State Sen. Leroy Comrie (D-Hollis) had a busy week. The newly elected lawmaker was sworn-in during Albany’s first day of session Jan. 7 and then had his official inauguration at the York College campus Sunday.

Hundreds took part in his party in downtown Jamaica, including U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and state Senate Democratic leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins of Yonkers.

“I am proud to represent the people of the district,” Comrie said, referring to the 14th Senate District that stretches from Queens Village and Laurelton to Jamaica.

He is like a kid with new shoes.

“I am enjoying it,” he said. “I already had the chance to speak with some of the members and hear some of the most important issues.”

Comrie defeated incumbent Malcolm Smith, who was in office from the years 2000 to 2014. He beat Smith, who is on trial in federal court in White Plains for allegedly trying to bribe his way onto the Republican line in the runup to the 2014 mayoral race.

“My top priority will be to articulate the major needs of our communities,” Comrie pointed out.

The freshman senator said he is waiting to be assigned to some of the state committees, but he has no preferences. “I am a baseball utility player,” he joked.

The event at York College included a performance by Thomas “Tommy Z” Zlabinger & the York College Blue Notes.

“I am incredibly honored to be representing my neighbors and the community in the state Senate,” Comrie said. “I look forward to getting to work for those who have put their faith in me and to begin tackling the issues that matter to them most.”

During the inauguration, Borough President Melinda Katz described Comrie as an “exceptional public servant with a tireless work ethic and a proven track record on behalf of the interests of his constituents.”

Comrie served as deputy borough president and as a special assistant to Katz. He also served as a city councilman for three terms, from 2002 to 2013.

“Today he formally begins a new chapter in his life of public service,” the borough president said.

Stewart-Cousins promised to appoint Comrie to important state committee.

During Comrie’s swearing-in in Albany, she said the new state senator “has long been a community leader in Queens.”

She added that Comrie “is a strong addition to our family.”

As he is adapting to his new legislative career, Comrie said, “I will do everything I can do to push the needs of our communities, seeking services and resources to have better schools, affordable housing, youth and after-school programs, jobs and better care for our seniors.”

Reach reporter Juan Soto by e-mail at jsoto‌@cngl‌ocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4564.