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.
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.