It was a golden opportunity for friends, family and elected officials to gather together to honor former state Sen. Marty Golden with the Ronald Reagan Americanism Award, as the Kings County Conservative Party held its annual brunch.
The event, which took place on March 31 at the Bay Ridge Manor, was hosted by Brooklyn Conservative Party Chair Fran Vella-Marrone and New York State Conservative Party Chair Jerry Kassar.
Event Chair David Ryan served as master of ceremonies and Ray Aalbue, president of the United Military Veterans of Kings County, led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Among those attending the event were former New York State Conservative Party Chair Mike Long, New York City Board of Elections Commissioner Simon Shamoun, Kings County Board of Elections Chief Clerk Ray Riley, City Councilmember Kalman Yeger, attorney Mike Connors of Connors & Sullivan; and John Quaglione, deputy communications director for the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn.
“I could not think of anyone more deserving to receive an award named in honor Ronald Reagan celebrating leadership and patriotism,” said Quaglione, who worked with Golden on his first campaign for City Council in 1997 and stayed with him during his years in the Senate and City Council.
“Throughout his career as a police officer, civic activist and elected official, my friend Marty Golden exemplified the true meaning of public service,” he went on. “Marty’s heart was always in the right place, consistently putting the people he protected and represented first. As far as I am concerned, Marty Golden’s dedication to our community and all that he has accomplished is unsurpassable.”
Former Ronald Reagan Americanism Award honorees include Aalbue and civic leaders Sandy Vallas, Laurie Windsor, Arlene Rutuelo and Ilene Sacco.
“We are giving this year’s Ronald Reagan Americanism Award to the right person,” said Vella-Marrone. “This is somebody who went to Albany to represent all of us. He represented the people in his district but he also represented the Conservative Party, and he did it well. Marty was not only a legislator, he was a real community activist. He provided things for the community that nobody else would, and nobody else has or probably ever will in the future.”
Golden, a former New York City police officer, sponsored thousands of bills in the Senate focused on public safety, tax cuts, economic development, education and senior citizen quality of life.
Aside from his legislative accomplishments, Golden was also extremely active within the community, sponsoring the summer concert series, Halloween walks, Christmas tree lightings and many other much-anticipated events throughout his district.
Golden said that receiving the Ronald Reagan Americanism Award was truly a great honor. He thanked his wife Colleen, their children Michael and Patrick and all the friends, family and former staff in attendance.
He joked that he has enjoyed time at home with his family. “I’ve obviously sat home with my good wife and for the sake of my good marriage I went out and got a job,” said Golden, who is currently working in development and fundraising for the Brooklyn Diocese. “My options are open and I’m going to keep them open,” added Golden to a round of applause.
“During the course of my 40 years I got to know many, many people, hundreds of state legislators and other public officials,” said Kassar, who served for 16 years as Golden’s chief of staff. “I daresay there is no finer person I ever worked for, ever knew in government, than Marty Golden.”
Golden served communities including Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst and Marine Park as state senator between 2003 and 2018, and represented Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and parts of Bensonhurst in the City Council from 1998 till his election to the Senate. The Kings County Conservative Party was founded in 1962.