The torch was passed Saturday, January 11, from former Councilman Leroy Comrie to new Councilman I. Daneek Miller.
I. Daneek Miller was formerly sworn in as the Councilman for District 27 at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center (JPAC). The venue was near capacity as elected officials from across the five boroughs joined with labor leaders, civic leaders and residents to welcome the new Councilman.
The presence of labor along with the long list of elected officials was a testament to Miller’s previous position as President of the Amalgamated Transportation Union, the hope of addressing inequities and the middle class at City Hall and a signal to a leadership looking to work together. Most importantly, this collection of leadership in Southeast Queens is a demonstration of the importance and power of the area as a stable seat of the middle class in New York City and a power voting block.
The long list of leadership included Senator Chuck Schumer, Public Advocate Letitia James, Congress Members Grace Meng and Gregory Meeks, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito who did the official swearing in. The first two rows of seats were reserved for elected officials but the venue was filled to the rafters with representatives including Borough Presidents, NYS Senate and Assembly members, City Council Members and key members of Mayor DeBlasio’s staff. Labor leaders from unions across the city also filled the seats with Vincent Alvarez, President of the NYC Central Labor Council, as the events’ keynote speaker.
Leaders who took to the podium spoke to the coming together of labor and elected leadership. “[This] represents the next generation of leadership in this city,” said NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer
Public Advocate Letitia James spoke to bringing the conversation of labor and inequality to the Council. “A member of labor is now a member of the City Council,” she said. On inequities, she spoke to the role of ensuring “[Southeast Queens] remains and is not subject to the gentrification that has wiped out so many other communities”
During his remarks, Miller confirmed his commitment to Mayor deBlasio’s progressive agenda. “I am lock, stock and barrel with that agenda,” he said. He also pledged a commitment to proper resources for children, resources for every school and affordable housing. “That is the mandate you have given us,” he said. “We are the voice for the voiceless.”
There was a faux ceremonial moment of levity when Deputy Borough President passed a physical torch to the new Councilman. He then passed on his City Council pin to the new Councilman.
Councilman I. Daneek Miller represents District 27 which covers St. Albans, Hollis, Cambria Heights, Queens Village, Addisleigh Park, Jamaica, and Springfield Gardens.