Brooklyn Assemblyman Nick Perry was sworn-in Saturday for the 14th consecutive term as representative for the 58th State Assembly District.
Over 500 community residents, elected officials, community leaders and members of the clergy joined the Jamaican-born Perry as he took the oath of office administered by Gov. Andrew Cuomo at Holy Family Roman Catholic Church in Canarsie, Brooklyn during an ecumenical service.
Cuomo heaped praised on Perry prior to swearing him in, stating that Perry is not afraid to take on the “tough fights.”
“Just because you’re a DA (District Attorney) or a prosecutor doesn’t mean you have the right to operate without oversight; and, if you do something wrong, then you should have oversight,” Cuomo said. “That was Nick Perry who did that.
“Assemblyman Perry stepped up to the big landlords, the powerful landlords and said, ‘I’m tired of seeing my people abused, I’m tired of seeing tenants abused.’ We have to reform rent control and rent stabilization. It’s not a giveaway to landlords. Let’s protect tenants from getting displaced from their own communities and their own neighborhoods. That’s Nick Perry,” the governor added.
“Nick Perry stood up and said, ‘we have to treat each other as human beings, with decency,’” he continued. “And just because you commit a crime doesn’t mean you forfeit your rights as a human being. And he stood up and stopped the shackling of women who are prisoners to a hospital gurney. That’s what we were doing, and Nick Perry stepped up and stopped it.”
For his efforts last year, Perry was recognized by the National Black Caucus of State Legislators as their 2018 “Legislator of the Year.”
Several elected officials attended the event, including US Sen. Charles “Chuck” Schumer, of New York; New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli; Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-8th CD); State Senators Kevin Parker and Roxanne Persaud; Assemblywomen Rodneyse Bichotte, Latrice Walker and Tremaine Wright; and Kings County Democratic Party Chairman Frank Seddio.
Perry was also sworn in by Associate Justice Sylvia O. Hinds-Radix at the close of the ecumenical service.
Pastor Charles Galbreath of the Clarendon Road Church, delivered an inspiring sermonette; and Bishops Mervin Harding, Dr. R. C. Hugh Nelson, Dr. Cecil G. Riley, Fr. Edward Kane, Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, Rev. Dr. Kirkpatrick Cohall, and Rt. Rev. Sylveta Hamilton-Gonzales brought various prayers.
Genesis Fellowship Choir and Felina Backer dazzled the crowd with musical performances during the service.
Also sworn in were 58th Assembly District Democratic State Committee Members Melba P. Brown and Cory Provost.
During his inaugural address, Perry announced another bill aimed at fixing what he described as “our broken criminal justice system,” – “The Prisoner Minimum Wage Act.”
“This bill would serve to end the last remnants of slavery in New York State by rejecting the passage in 13th Amendment of the United States Constitution, which, yes, still allows slavery in our nation, within our jails,” he said, stating that New York inmates are currently being paid as little as $0.10 per hour or $3.00 per week.
Perry said his Prisoner Minimum Wage Act would provide a minimum wage of $3.00 an hour to inmates.
According to multiple studies, there is little doubt that paying prisoners an increased wage would reduce recidivism, “and is the right thing to do on a humanitarian level,” Perry said.
“Furthermore, many private companies often choose to employ prisoners to cut costs, taking potential jobs away from the state’s non-incarcerated workforce,” he added.
The ecumenical service was followed by a gala reception and dinner party.
The gala reception featured a cultural show hosted by MC Wassy, and included performances by students from the Meyer Levin Performing Arts School; Ifetayo Cultural Arts Academy; award-winning Jamaican violinist, Nadjé Leslie; and young crooner Nathaniel Sobers.