If one photo says a thousand words, the above photo sums it up as a family swearing in. As you see Andrew Cohen is being sworn in by Judge Edgar Walker. On his right is his wife Heather, and proudly standing next to her father also taking the oath of office is 5 year old Sarah Cohen.
The weather may have been cold with freezing rain out side, inside the Lovinger Theater at Lehman College was another story however. Hundreds of people gathered to see Mr. Andrew Cohen become Councilman Andrew Cohen. There were dozens of elected officials which included U.S.Senator Chuck Schumer, Congressmen Eliot Engel and Charles Rangel, City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Public Advocate Letitia James, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., State Senators Jeff Klein, Gustavo Rivera, and Adriano Espilliat, Bronx State Assembly members Jeff Dinowitz, Mark Gjonaj, Victor Pichardo and the Bronx Democratic County Leader Carl Heastie, Bronx council members Carmen Maria Arroyo, Fernando Cabrera, Vanessa Gibson, Andy King, and Ritchie Torres. Other City Council members in attendance included both candidates for speaker of the council Mellissa Msrk Viverito and Dan Gardoneck, Queens Councilman Mark Werprin, and Manhattan Councilmen Ydanis Rodriguez and Mark Levine. Also many members of Community Board 8 which Councilman Cohen was a member of, and others from Community boards 7 and 12.
As for the speeches by the elected officials they started off saying we thank former Councilman Oliver Koppell for his 12 years in office, changing to the welcoming of a new Councilman Andrew Cohen, and Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz summed it up best by saying "now we will have a councilman that I can work with.
New City Comptroller Scott Stringer was the first elected official to speak, and he said that he has deep roots to the 11th council district. Stringer went on to say that his mother lives in the district, and he has given her Councilman Cohen's cell phone number. U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer Mentioned that he was the congressman for the area that Andrew Cohen went to high school. Senator Jeff Klein mentioned that 18 years ago it was in the same Lovinger Theater that he was sworn in. Congressman Charles Rangel however said it was great to be back in Dewitt Clinton (the nearby high school he had attended). Then there were the others such as Bronx Democratic County Leader Assemblyman Carl Heastie who said county leaders are looked at like dictators of foreign countries. Senator Gustavo Rivera tried to joke about the bad weather outside by saying that he had to put on his shoe condoms (better known as rubbers). Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj said that he was looking forward to working with Councilman Cohen.
Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz said that he has been in office for 20 year now, and Andrew Cohen once worked for him in his office. Dinowitz added that Andrew Cohen was supported by almost every Union and elected official not only in the Bronx but from other boroughs. Dinowitz then called up Judge Edgar Walker and Andrew Cohen for the oath of office. There was a standing ovation from the audience when Mr. Andrew Cohen became Councilman Andrew Cohen. Councilman Cohen then went on to give the longest speech that he has given so far thanking all the people in the audience for coming out in such bad weather. He then mentioned that he was a product of NYC public schools, and that he will be on the forefront of improving the public school system. Cohen went on to mention other areas he will concentrate on such as parks, homelessness and the over saturation of shelters, non-profits and adequate funding for them. Cohen went on to thank individual elected official such as Congressman Engel and Councilman Koppell, former Councilwoman June Eisland, and last but not least his family who supported him all the way through the gruelling campaign for the council seat. Below are some photos of the inauguration.
Left - Bronx Democratic County Leader talks with Councilman Andy King before the ceremony.
Right - Rabbi Avi Weiss gave the Invocation. After the ceremony Father Richard Gorman gave the Benediction
Left - The Celia Cruz High School Chorus sing the Pledge of Allegiance.
Right - Sarah Cohen also says the Pledge of Allegiance.
Right - Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
Left - Some of the elected officials that filled the first three rows.
Right That's Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viveritoin the second row on the left, and Councilman Dan Gardonick in the first row. Both are seeking to be the new speaker of the council on Jan. 8th.