On Sunday, January 18, just one day before Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Brooklyn celebrated the swearing in of State Senator Jesse Hamilton, the New York City native elected in November, 2014 to take over the 20th Senatorial District seat left vacant a year earlier by then-senator, now-Borough President Eric Adams.
Elected officials, community leaders and local residents flooded the afternoon affair with words of encouragement and support for the newly elected senator who will represent parts of Sunset Park, Crown Heights, Brownsville, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Park Slope, East Flatbush and Gowanus.
“[My priorities are] affordable housing, raising the minimum wage to a true living wage, quality education, trying to assist families whose children are going to private school through a tax credit and job training for individuals so people have the skill sets they need to succeed,” Hamilton told this paper.
Squaring in on Sunset Park, he said, he’s looking to “get more grants” for various programs as well as developing the waterfront area to create more jobs.
In reference to succeeding the now Borough President, Hamilton said, “I believe in [Adams’] core values but I will be my own state senator. The things he was implementing, we will continue to do.”
Among legislation Hamilton said he will introduce is a tenant harassment bill. Hamilton is also interested in introducing legislation around gun violence that would include “a mental health component for children of families impacted by gun violence.”
The theme for the Inauguration was “DREAM,” in honor of both King’s legacy and young victims of gun violence. The ceremony was held in the St. Francis de Sales School for the Deaf Auditorium and featured performances by the school’s students, Brooklyn Youth Marines, the Q City Soundz Stage Band, and more.
Scheduled speakers included Adams, Mayor Bill de Blasio, United States Senator Charles Schumer, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, State Senator Andrea Stewart Cousins, Assemblymember Felix Ortiz, City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Public Advocate Letitia James, Councilmember Brad Lander and Kings County Democratic Chair Frank Seddio.
Helen Klein contributed reporting to this article.