James Sanders Jr. was officially sworn in as Senator of the 10th District in a ceremony at York College Thursday, January 17th. The Senator had already been busy with his new duties prior to the swearing in, with his first order of business being the passage of the comprehensive new gun safety legislation.
The official swearing in was done, with his family by his side, by minority leader Andrea Stewart-Cousin.
Donovan Richards, Sander’s Chief of Staff during his last years in office and hoping to succeed him in that position, was the Master of Ceremony. He shared remembrances of their time together and the initial tragedy of a friends death that brought them together.
But it was the old familiar Sanders charm that was displayed during his remarks ‘Vision for the District’. He made a joke of mixing up his old City Council title with the new and teased the audience to choose between a five hour speech and an abridged version. On the serious side, Sanders vowed to continue working until the “lights are on for everyone” he said of the 2,000 residents still without heat and power due to Hurricane Sandy. He spoke about economic empowerment and “making sure everyone has chance”.
The ceremony included a variety of religious leaders to pray him into his new role; Catholic, Muslim, Hindu, and Sikh. Elected officials also dropped by to wish him well. NY State Senator Malcolm Smith, who’s district also covers part of Southeast Queens, along with Assemblymen Weprin and Genus, Assemblywomen Titus and Cook and City Councilman Ruben Wills also offered words of congratulations and spoke of the work ahead.
The celebration included a performance and honor guard salute from students from P.S. 253 Far Rockaway, where the new Senator's sister is the Principal, and P.S.254 Richmond Hill.
The ceremony was followed by refreshments, mingling and handshakes and photos with the new Senator.
The 10th Senatorial District covers Far Rockaway, Springfield Garden, Rosedale, Laurelton, Richmond Hills, South Ozone Park and Jamaica.