Three elected officials representing Astoria took their oaths of office at the Museum of the Moving Image last Thursday and discussed what they hoped to accomplish in their upcoming terms.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Queens and Manhattan), state Sen. Mike Gianaris (D-Astoria) and Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria) all vowed to serve their community as they were sworn in before constituents.
Maloney outlined a 10-point plan for the community, focusing on major issues such as the environment and healthcare.
Among her goals are expanding Mt. Sinai Hospital of Queens and supporting Long Island City’s Floating Hospital expansion. She said that she would also focus on obtaining a Long Island Rail Road stop for Sunnyside, help create a greenroof for Queensbridge Houses, ensure improvements are made to the buildings there and work on repairing the crumbling seawall in Queensbridge Park.
Maloney said she had a meeting scheduled in February with Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith and others regarding the park’s waterfront.
On a national level, Maloney said she would defend against efforts to repeal healthcare reform and work on behalf of her Greek constituents to see that the United States takes a firm stand on the need to reunify Cyprus following territorial disputes with other nations.
Maloney said she was happy to be with her Queens constituents and colleagues. “I look forward to working with Sen. Gianaris, Assemblywoman Simotas, and all our colleagues in government to make this plan a reality,” she said. “I am humbled and profoundly grateful that the voters of the 14th District returned me to office, and I pledge to repay their trust each and every day of this Congress.”
Gianaris, who previously served as an assemblyman, said he hoped to improve financial conditions for Astoria residents. “As New York continues to face a difficult economy, we will work together to create more jobs, keep taxes from further burdening New Yorkers and make the necessary changes to reform Albany.”
Simotas, who is holding an elected position for the first time, said she was excited to get to work. She has been appointed to the Small Business and Energy committees and recently went on a government fact-finding mission to Israel to see the ways in which the country was making use of alternative energy sources. “Israel has created a system to support electronic cars. It’s one of the most remarkable things that they’ve done,” she said.
According to Simotas, the city of San Francisco is looking into making its taxi fleet battery-operated, something she wants to look into for New York.
“It was an honor to be sworn in alongside Congresswoman Maloney and Sen. Gianaris, two outstanding public servants whose tenacity and effectiveness in office I hope to emulate,” she said. “I’m deeply grateful for the support of everyone who attended tonight’s event and I look forward to getting to work on the issues that matter most to New Yorkers.”
Simotas said she has been welcomed by the Queens delegation and is working on putting together her first piece of legislation. “I was advised not to talk about it until I have a bill number,” she said.