Queens/Long Island Congressman Tom Suozzi celebrated the opening of his new Queens district office at 242-09 Northern Blvd. in Douglaston with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Sunday, April 25.
Surrounded by elected officials including Queens Borough President Donavan Richards, state Senator John Liu, Assembly members David Weprin and Clyde Vanel, as well as numerous district leaders and community representatives, Suozzi was excited that his ground-floor office in a Tutor-style building is now more centrally located and accessible to his constituents.
“This office is really about constituent services. It’s one of the most important things we do as elected officials is trying to serve our constituents help them navigate the bureaucracy of the government,” said Suozzi, who explained that his office continues to receive COVID-19-related phone calls about stimulus checks, the PPP and Shuttered Venues Programs, but also questions dealing with immigration, the Internal Revenue Service and veterans issues.
Suozzi thanked his entire staff for the phenomenal work they accomplish on a daily basis.
“All these different things can only be handled because I have a fantastic staff. I am so grateful for the great work that my staff does,” the representative for New York’s Third Congressional District said.
Weprin congratulated Suozzi on his new quarters and thanked him for his leadership in Washington, describing him as a problem solver.
“I want to really thank you for all your service for so many years. But particularly in Washington, providing the aid that we needed for New York City and New York state and helping solve our problems and really making sure that the federal stimulus money got out there to help small businesses, and to help the theater industry, to help the economy, not to mention average New Yorkers,” said Weprin, who is running for city comptroller.
Richards apologized for arriving a tad late but had a forgivable excuse — he had to bake a pizza for his son.
Richards also thanked Suozzi for bringing back “the bacon” to the borough of Queens.
“We’re going to need that coming out of this pandemic. We talk about getting back to some semblance of normalcy, and I always say, Congress member, we should not go back to where we were before. We’re heading to a new normal as we move forward and this new normal also includes a new office right here serving our borough,” Richards said.
“We know that your capable staff is going to continue to do what you continue to do throughout your entire tenure as a Congress member, and that is to deliver key quality services to the residents of Queens County, and of course, I have to mention Long Island, regrettably,” he joked.
Suozzi touched on Richards’ remarks, mentioning the billions of dollars New York City has already received from different COVID relief packages and that the new infrastructure package would bring even further financial relief.
“As the president says, we’re going to build back better, and this infrastructure package is so important. And one of the things that I’m trying to do is get earmarks back where I can actually get specific spending back to different projects,” Suozzi said.
State Senator John Liu said that Suozzi is part of the problem-solving caucus trying to break through Washington, D.C.’s political gridlock — but he never forgets his district in Queens.
“He never forgets his own district, which lamentably includes a great deal of Long Island,” Liu quipped. “It also includes very important parts of Queens, and this Congress member never forgets Queens. And this is a very tangible sign that his presence is going to be not only felt but extremely effective.”
Assemblyman Clyde Vanel pointed out the diversity of elected officials that attended the ribbon cutting.
“We are here from the city, from the state, from the federal government, from the borough. We all work together as partners, and Tom has been one of the leaders in Congress to get us through this most trying time. What a difficult year for us to get through, and we needed partners in Congress,” Vanel said.
Tom Grech, president and CEO of the Queens Chamber of Commerce, thanked Suozzi for making sure that Queens small businesses received their fair share of the PPP.
“When Queens was not getting its fair share of the Triple P, we got him on the phone, not once but twice with 150-175 people, and the trickle-down became a tsunami, we got the funding that we needed,” Grech said.
Grech admitted he got excited when he heard the congressman mention earmarks because the Queens Chamber of Commerce recently founded a tech council.
“We want to bring diversity, equity and inclusion to Queens when it comes to tech. We’ve got Amazon, we’ve got Google, Facebook, you name it. We want to bring good-paying tech jobs to Queens County, and we are not going to stop till we do it,” Grech said and thanked Suozzi for his support.