Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) celebrated Sunday his election to his first term as city councilman for northeast Queens in the company of the elite of Queens politics from both sides of the ideological aisle at the Fort Totten Officer’s Club in Bayside.
One of three Queens Republicans in the Council’s five-memberminority caucus, Halloran thanked a long list of those who gathered for his ceremonial swearing in. He was flanked by his family and friends and the people who helped him win one of the ugliest city races last year.
The Auburndale attorney’s introductions came from politicians and leaders from the Democratic and Republican parties, who stressed that residents of all political and ideological stripes must put aside their differences to support their new representative in City Hall.
Democrats, including U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside), Our Flushing Political Coalition leader Terence Park and even Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) showed up on the windswept, sub-zero afternoon to lend a few kind words to a man who will, with his four Republican compatriots and a cadre of moderate Democrats, work to ensure liberal Council members consider conservative viewpoints in their proposals.
“He showed me even before he was getting paid to do the job that this is a job he’s going to do with gusto, with passion and with commitment to all the voters in his district,” Quinn said.
The fete was a joyous end to a bitter campaign during which Halloran’s pagan faith was used against him; accusations of racism were cast by the campaign of his Democratic opponent, Kevin Kim; and both camps’ political rhetoric often degenerated into mudslinging.
Beginning with the national anthem sung by Bayside cantor Margaret Abel and a rousing performance by a police bagpipe group, the ceremony was filled with humor, back-slapping and enthusiasm about the work Halloran will do for his native district over the next four years.
Halloran pledged to uphold during his term the conservative principles he campaigned on by working to reduce taxes and help small business owners and middle-class families.
“Our children and our children’s children cannot have the mantle of billions and trillions of dollars of debt foisted on their shoulders,” he said to booming applause. “Our taxes cannot progressively increase to the point where we work more for the government than for ourselves.”
Halloran also spoke of community service and helping the less fortunate, emphasizing citizen responsibility and New Yorkers’ duty to use opportunities they have in ways that benefit others. His office will be one of transparency and openness, he said, a place where district residents can come with questions, suggestions and concerns.
“I will be here to help you, to ensure that the government is responsive to you, not that the government forces you to be responsive to it,” he said. “I pledge that in the years to come you will find me a listener, a doer and a leader.”
After rattling off a long list of thank-yous and acknowledgements, Halloran repeated a few more campaign promises he hopes to keep during his term, such as bringing more funding to the district and preserving its character.
Halloran and his family beamed throughout the event and the new councilman was apparently unable to contain his excitement as he entertained the crowd that remained near its conclusion by belting out impassioned karaoke renditions of “Hanging by a Moment” by Lifehouse and Billy Joel’s “A Matter of Trust.”
Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at csheets@cn
©2010 Community News Group
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