Elected officials from all over the state gathered at Junior High School 210 in Ozone Park Sunday to pass the torch to the community’s newest representative in Albany.
State Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder (D-Howard Beach) was inaugurated before his family, friends, community members and fellow elected officials.
Goldfeder, who worked in the political offices of City Councilman James Sanders (D-Laurelton), Mayor Michael Bloomberg and U.S. Sen Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), succeeded former Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer, who became the Queens county clerk in June after serving the 23rd Assembly District for 24 years.
The new Assembly member said he was grateful for all the support he received from both the party and constituents and vowed to improve their quality of life.
“As the new assemblyman, I’m going to do the things I promised on the campaign,” he said.
The district includes the neighborhoods of the Rockaways, Howard Beach and portions of South Ozone Park.
Several Democratic members of the state Legislature, including state Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-St. Albans), Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) and Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing), were in attendance for the event, at 93-11 101st Ave., and said the rookie elected official will be making big waves in office.
Smith noted that two key Republicans — U.S. Rep. Bob Turner (R-Kew Gardens) and Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) — were at the inauguration and he called on Goldfeder to continue to lead in a bipartisan manner.
“The aisles shouldn’t matter. You should do what is right,” he said.
Silver agreed and said Goldfeder’s long career in the New York political arena has made him a strong community activist, and he would not only be able to convey the community’s voice to Albany but also bring Albany’s side of the issues back home.
“You are part of a young collection of leaders who continue to define themselves as defenders of working families,” he said.
Pheffer, who was Goldfeder’s former boss, said she was confident he would be able to fill her shoes.
“There are so many, many problems that need to be worked on,” she said. “I am confident that he is going to do a better job [than me]. He is confident.”
Goldfeder said he is working on solving those issues, including the elimination of the toll at the Cross Bay Bridge and creating new incentives for neighborhood store owners during the down economic times.
“Right here, there are many businesses that need to survive,” he said.
Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@c