Recently elected 13th City Councilman Mark Gjonaj had his public swearing in today at the Herbert Lehman Educational Campus. It was a packed auditorium with many Bronx Elected officials, and others from outside the Bronx to see the new Albanian American Councilman, as well as friends and constituents. The members of Bronx Congressional delegation however were stuck in Washington with the government shutdown.
Mistress of Ceremony Lisa Sorin opened the event, with the Salute to the colors by NYPD Post 1824 and Post 2436. The pledge of Allegiance and American National Anthem was done by Renaissance High School Students, with the Albanian National Anthem by Ms. Jessica Raja. The invocation was then given by Imam Edin Ajar.
State Senator Jeff Klein was first to speak of the day he and Mark were fishing off City Island when Mark first said that he wanted to run for the State Assembly. Senator Klein added that this council race was one of the hardest races for him outside of his own. Bronx Democratic County Leader Marcos Crespo was next followed by Public Advocate Leticia James. Assemblyman Michael Benedetto up next thanked the three speakers before him for saying almost exactly what he wanted to say about Councilman Mark Gjonaj who Benedetto had served with for five years in the state assembly.
The Ambassadors from Albania (Flavetta Faber) and Kosova (Vlora Citaku) each read letters from their respective Prime Ministers who praised Mark Gjonaj for becoming the first Albanian American to be elected to the New York City Council.
Judge Llinet Rosado then swore Mark Gjonaj (with his wife Roberta and two sons) in as the new Councilman from the 13th City Council District. Councilman Gjonaj said “God has been good to me and my family”. He spoke of helping struggling business corridors in his role as chair of the Small Business committee. He added that he wants to bring more mass transit to areas in the Bronx who are undeserved, a two-percent tax cap, stop the out of control water rate increases, and do more for senior citizens and veteran's. Photos are below.
Above - The Pledge of Allegiance and American National Anthem by Renaissance High School Students.
Below - The Albanian National Anthem by Ms. Jessica Raja.
Above - The Invocation by Imam Edin Ajar.
Below - Flocetta Faver Ambassador from Albania presents Councilman Gjonaj with the letter she read from the Prime Minister of Albania.
Above - Kosova Ambassador Vlora Citaku also read a letter from the Prime Minister of Kosova congratulating on becoming the first Albanian American in the NYC Council.
Below - Mark Gjonaj with his wife Roberta and two sons beside him is sworn in by Judge Llinet Rosado as the Councilman from the 13th City Council District
Above - Councilman Mark Gjonaj speaks of his agenda for the first four years in City Hall as the City Councilman from the 13th district.
Below - Could Councilman Gjonaj be speaking to his replacement in the state assembly?