Amid the treacherous weather, over a thousand constituents witnessed the community swearing-in ceremony at Brooklyn College on Sunday of newly-elected Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichote. Bichotte, the first Haitian American to be elected to the State Legislature, was sworn in as the representative for the 42nd Assembly District in Brooklyn by Mayor Bill deBlasio, replacing the retired Rhoda Jacobs.
“Today, I am fortunate to stand before you as your legislator, as your Assemblymember,” a radiant Bichotte told the enthusiastic crowd that also included leading New York political figures, such as Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY) and Councilman Jumaane Williams (D-Brooklyn).
Bichotte said it was a great opportunity to “serve a much-needed New York State, and advocate for stronger economies and social reform that will lend itself to the American Dream.”
“I stand here as the Assembly Member because of all the sweat and hard work that went into believing in me, believing in hope – every sweat that represented the struggles on income inequality, unaffordable housing, struggling school system, jobs, etc.,” she said.
“Together, we took a critical look at our district and identified real problems that require solutions,” she added, identify among them affordable housing “for people of all means and income” and “improved schools and education access for all our children”.
“We need a state that fully embraces immigrants and renews the age-old New York promise to lift up all of our immigrant brothers and sisters, especially those most in need who are often made a target for cheap political wins,” Bichotte continued. “We need more jobs and support for our current local businesses and entrepreneurs who want to start-up their own businesses.
“And we need to see a renewed partnership between our community and our police, where wounds are healed and our neighbors and patrolmen work alongside one another to support each other,” she said.
As America this week celebrates the life and struggles of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Bichotte noted that King “shed blood, sweat and tears over these issues.
“He took to shining a spotlight across America to try and represent all parts of the country in his work,” she said.
“Much like Dr. King, Shirley Chisholm, and President Obama who all are ‘Dreamers’ for all, I want to make sure the four corners of my district are represented, [and have] a voice in their state government – that everyone can bring problems to my office and know they will be given real attention and real help,” Bichotte said.
She also referred the late, former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, noting that he was the son of immigrants who “left behind a legacy of eloquence and liberal excellence that carried on Dr. King’s great legacy. “He understood how to lead a great state with little to nothing,” Bichotte said.
She also announced her advisory council “to tackle those critical issues and more.”
Led by Bill Howard, Bichotte said the council comprises “a group of our friends and neighbors, community and civic leaders, experts in their fields and public servants all, who have pledged their time and efforts, networks and energies, to advise my office and support our efforts across the district.
“Each member of this group has accomplished so much and each is willing to devote their time to our district’s needs,” she said.
“The Advisory Council will help me make sure that no voice goes unheard, no issue gets forgotten, and our work is done together, with the best interests of the community always in mind,” the newly-elected assemblywoman added. “Together, we will reach higher for our district and beyond.”