WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — Gabriela Rosa was sworn into the state legislature Sunday, becoming the first Dominican-American member of the Assembly — and uptown's first female Assembly rep.
Flanked by her mother Leonor Garcia, her husband Victor Estrella and her son Victor Gabriel, the Democrat took the oath of office to represent New York's 72nd Assembly District in front of more than 330 supporters at P.S. 48, the Police Officer Michael Buczek School.
Rosa, who is replacing Assemblyman Guillermo Linares, promised to form a "group of three," and to work together with city Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez and state Sen. Adriano Espaillat to tackle the issues facing uptown residents.
"We will join forces to maintain, improve and expand affordable housing, excellence in education, economic development, job opportunities, services to the elderly and disabled, after-school and daycare programs, women and family services, among many others," Rosa said outside the school on 187th Street in Washington Heights.
The inauguration drew leaders from within New York's Democratic Party, including U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, former city Comptroller Bill Thompson, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and Assemblyman Denny Farrell.
Rosa worked as Farrell's constituent liaison for 12 years, and Farrell hailed her election, calling it a "great day" for Albany.
"The bad thing is that she's leaving me," Farrell said. "I have a big hole in my office."
Rosa, who was born in the Dominican Republic, defeated Mayra Linares, daughter of the outgoing assemblyman, in September's general election. Rosa's staff will take over Linares' office at 210 Sherman Ave.
She told DNAinfo.com New York that she'll continue to remain approachable to voters, in spite of her new position.
"I'm going to be buying at the same supermarket, I'm going to be going to the same pharmacy," Rosa said.
"All of this is telling you that I'm going to keep connecting with my community, and that will help me keep my feet on the ground."