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Katz Promises to Upgrade Transportation, Monitor Rebuilding at Swearing-In

By Katie Honan | January 11, 2014 2:59pm
 Katz was sworn in as the borough's next president at a ceremony at Queens College.
Katz was sworn in as the borough's next president at a ceremony at Queens College.
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Courtest Queens Borough President's Office

FLUSHING — Promising to monitor rebuilding in neighborhoods still reeling from Hurricane Sandy and improve health care and transportation across the borough, former City Councilwoman Melinda Katz was sworn in as the 19th borough president of Queens on Thursday night at Queens College.

Katz won in a landslide in the November election to replace Helen Marshall, defeating Republican Tony Arcabascio.

Her oath was administered by Mayor Bill de Blasio, on a Bible held by Rep. Joseph Crowley, who is also chairman of the Queens County Democratic Organization.

A lifelong Queens resident, Katz discussed representing its diversity while also helping with the challenges faced by the borough's many different residents.

"We are the senior couple from Laurelton trying to figure out how to keep our home on a fixed income," she told the crowd inside the LeFrak Concert Hall.

"We are a newly married gay couple making a life in Jackson Heights and raising a family, and we are a fourth-generation Italian family tasked with keeping our traditions."

She vowed to help Queens become a borough where residents can live, work and play  — "without having to cross over a bridge or go through a tunnel," she said.

Katz said she will bring back an education "war room" to keep track of school construction projects and overcrowding issues, while also working with de Blasio on his push for universal pre-K.

She also promised to continue the borough's recovery from Hurricane Sandy with the creation of a Storm Relief Task Force, and said she'd expand bus service and make the ferry permanent to the Rockaway peninsula.