State Assemblymember Daniel Rosenthal (D-Kew Gardens Hills, Kew Gardens, Pomonok, Electchester, College Point) marked the beginning of his first term as a public official in a memorable way: surrounded by friends, family, and a host of local lawmakers.
At least 100 people sat in the auditorium of P.S. 201 in Flushing on Thursday to celebrate the inauguration of Rosenthal as an Assemblymember.
The ceremony attracted several lawmakers, including City Councilmember Peter Koo (D-Bayside, College Point, Flushing, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Fresh Meadows, Whitestone), U.S. Rep. and House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley (D-Sunnyside, Astoria, College Point, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Corona, Woodside, Parts of the Bronx), Public Advocate Letitia James and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz.
Rosenthal oversees the 27th Assembly District, formerly represented by Michael Simanowitz. Simanowitz, 45, died in September leaving Democrats to nominate Rosenthal as his replacement. With no opposition, the 26-year-old easily won the seat in November.
City Councilmember Barry Grodenchik (D-Bayside, Hollis) explained that only one person could replace Simanowitz in the district—Daniel Rosenthal.
“Because of all the qualities an elected official needs, the most important is empathy and sympathy for other people,” he said.
James also noted how impressive the achievement of becoming a state assmeblymember was for Rosenthal at a young age.
“Most 26-year-olds are not spending all of their time traveling around their community, listening to people’s concerns, and advocating on their behalf. But this young man just plans to do that and more,” she said.
City Councilmember Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows, Jamaica Hills, Briarwood) also appeared and spoke at the event. Before winning the seat unopposed, Rosenthal worked as the District Director for Lancman. Lancman, who helped swear in Rosenthal, recalled having a conversation with his former staffer in his office.
“He was thinking about his future in public service and politics,” Lancman said. “Then, all of a sudden, something happens. He is expected to take on a responsibility neither he, his family, his co-workers, or his friends had expected him to take on.”
Lancman elaborated that Rosenthal overcame the pressures associated with the position and felt he was “ready for that responsibility.”
Right after being sworn in by his former boss and mentor, Rosenthal delivered a short speech highlighting issues that he would work on in Albany. He offered transportation and education as two examples.
“In the state legislature, I hope to be a problem solver first and a partisan last,” he said.
Rosenthal ended his speech inviting residents in his district to let his office know their concerns, so he can immediately work on them when in Albany.
“I pledged with the opportunity before me now to do as much good for those around me and those needs. [I will be] a vehicle for your voices to be heard, following up on your concerns, and advocating for public policies,” he said.