Danny Dromm celebrates inauguration to City Council

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City Councilman Danny Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) and close to 600 residents celebrated the inauguration of one of the first two openly gay politicians to represent Queens with spirited speeches by government officials and a performance by one of the original Village People to mark the beginning of a tenure expected to help meet the needs of an increasingly diverse district.

“We have to work on a lot of different fronts” to accommodate the diverse population in the 25th Council District, Dromm said.

“One thing I’m trying to make happen is to open an immigrant job center to %u2026 help the day laborers,” Dromm said. “Many of them work very long hours and receive very little money.”

Dromm was officially sworn into the Council at the end of December, but held his inauguration party Sunday at Queens Theatre in the Park in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

The Jackson Heights politician and Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) became Queens’ first two openly gay Council members when they were elected in November.

Dromm replaces former Councilwoman Helen Sears, whom he defeated in the Democratic primary and who attended Sunday’s event. His Council district includes Corona, East Elmhurst, Elmhurst and Jackson Heights.

Politicians, residents and community leaders packed the theatre’s auditorium Sunday for the two-hour event that concluded with Dromm dancing alongside recording artist Randy Jones, the original Village People cowboy.

“Danny has not only a lot of energy, he wants to make a difference,” state Assemblyman Jose Peralta (D-Jackson Heights) said not long after Dromm entered the room behind a bagpipe player and was met by a standing ovation.

City Comptroller John Liu, a former councilman from Flushing, praised Dromm as a “brave individual who went from ostracism to being sworn in as a member of the New York City Council.”

Dromm, who taught at PS 99 for more than two decades, came out as an openly gay teacher in the 1990s in response to the school board’s criticism of the city’s newly implemented Rainbow Curriculum, which aimed to teach tolerance to students. The fight that ensued was trying for Dromm, who defeated attempts to remove him from his job.

“He always fought prejudice,” U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said. “Despite the difficulties placed in his way, he never got angry or bitter. He’s an amazing person.”

Schumer, Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) and state Sen. Thomas Duane (D-Manhattan) all praised Dromm’s efforts to reach out to the community, including his founding of the Queens Pride House and Generation Q, the borough’s only center servicing LGBT youth.

Fifteen years ago, Dromm organized the first Queens LGBT Pride Parade and Festival, which he still puts on the first Sunday in June in Jackson Heights, and he co-founded the Queens chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, known as P-FLAG.

Dromm has a long list of priorities for his district, including fixing up the 74th Street subway station, alleviating traffic congestion, and bringing primary care centers to the area in an effort to address the overcrowding at Elmhurst Hospital.

“If we could alleviate some pressure on the ER in Elmhurst, everybody would be better served,” Dromm said.

Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e-mail at or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 174.

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