By Bill Parry
U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley is leaving Congress when his term is finished at the end of December, but the northwest Queens and Bronx representative will continue his public service in a much-different capacity.
Crowley was sworn into the United States Semiquincentennial Commission Nov. 20 at its inaugural meeting.
The bipartisan official government body of 33, formed by Congress, will plan the observances and activities surrounding the 250th anniversary on America’s independence in 2026. The swearing-in ceremony was held at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, where the bulk of the celebration is expected to take place.
“Our nation will reach a pivotal milestone in the next decade and I’m honored to be part of that celebration,” Crowley said. “History has always been a great passion of mine and I look forward to shaping how our country celebrates it anniversary by both recognizing how far we’ve come over the past 250 years and how much more we have yet to accomplish.”
The name might be cumbersome compared to the Bicentennial celebrations in 1976, but Congress settled on the designation “semiquincentennial,” which technically means half of five centuries, or 250 years.
Crowley was re-elected as chairman of the Queens County Democratic Party, which he has held since 2006, but he will be stepping down as chairman of the House Democratic Caucus. He lost his bid for re-election in stunning fashion back in June when he suffered a 15-point primary defeat to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Brooklyn Congressman Hakeem Jeffries will replace Crowley as Democratic caucus chair after he defeated California Congresswoman 123-113 Wednesday. Jeffries represents a portion on southwest Queens including South Ozone Park, Lindenwood and Howard Beach.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr