A crop of elected officials and community members came to show their support for the newly elected State Sen. John Liu (D-College Point, Whitestone, Bayside, Flushing, Jamaica Estates, Fresh Meadows, Bellerose, Floral Park, Jamaica, Douglaston, Little Neck, Auburndale, Kissena Park, Briarwood) at his inaugural ceremony in his elementary alma-mater P.S. 203 in Bayside.
Speakers and supporters of Liu repeated the same mantra with each speech, ‘John Liu is a trailblazer’, ‘John Liu is a hard worker’, ‘John Liu cares about inclusion’, ‘John Liu fights for Education.’
Speakers included City Comptroller Scott Stringer, State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, Deputy Borough President Sharon Lee, U.S. Rep. Grace Meng, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer and the Honorable Judge Hom.
“We are 200 languages. It is time for the New York State senate to truly be Democratic and John Liu is exactly where he was supposed to be,” said Katz.
Other silent support came from elected officials across the boroughs amongst the fully seated auditorium (including but not limited to; Ruben Diaz Jr. the Bronx borough president as well as Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams as well as Councilmembers including Adrienne Adams, Danny Dromm, Donovan Richards, Rory Lancman, Daneek Miller, Helen Rosenthal, Peter Koo; and State Senators Leroy Conley, Jessica Ramos, Luis R. Sepúlveda, Kevin Thomas, Toby Stavisky, and Julia Salazar.
“I remind myself everyday that the reason we have a swear in is so that the person who got elected to office can publicly state affirmatively that he or she will discharge the duties of this office to the best of their abilities and that is what I pledge to you today,” said Liu.
Many speakers spoke about all the work Liu has done in the past and how he broke through barriers with his brazen opinions like legalizing marijuana and raising minimum wage to $15 an hour- ideas that at the time seemed farout, but have now started to come to fruition.
Liu vowed that he would work to fix the budget issues plaguing the NYC Department of Education (DOE) including protecting everybody’s chance to take the Specialized High School Admissions Test as he and his family have.
Liu added on that he would be interested in more teacher evaluations, the food being served in public schools- all of which will be easier for him to do from his new position as the head of the subcommittee chair for the DOE.
Liu also promised to protect women’s health and choice, “Take these laws out of the criminal statutes and put them where they really belong – in the health codes in the state of New York,” he said.
Coming from an immigrant family and being a Queens resident through and through, Liu also promised to help protect immigration rights for those in need as inclusion was always a part of his agenda.
Previous to taking up the mantle as Senator, Liu was notably the first Asian-American elected to city council where he served from 2002 to 2009; and the first Asian-American elected to a citywide office when he was elected as comptroller in 2010.
Following his term as comptroller he attempted an unsuccessful run for the mayoral office only to come in fourth in the Democratic Primary for the election.
Liu also teaches municipal finance and policy at both CUNY Baruch and Columbia University.