U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer performed the ceremonial swearing-in of newly installed State Assemblywoman Dana Levenberg at her inauguration on Friday, January 20. More than 40 elected officials from around the region and state were in attendance for the event, contributing to a capacity crowd for the courtroom at Cortlandt Town Hall. In his remarks prior to the swearing-in, Senator Schumer praised Levenberg, citing her work as Ossining Town Supervisor and around the district as a not-for-profit board member and former chief of staff to retired Assemblywoman Sandy Galef.
Schumer’s remarks addressed the sacrifices that elected officials make as they pursue higher office, acknowledging members of Levenberg’s family who were in attendance and sharing anecdotes from his own experience. He also discussed the fragility of our democracy and applauded those in attendance for taking time from their busy lives to participate in it. His remarks were of a piece with the primary themes of the ceremony, which focused on the need for urgent action to preserve the planet and American democracy.
Students from around the district were featured in prominent roles, and several reminded Assemblywoman Levenberg and the other officials in attendance of their responsibilities to future generations and the most vulnerable members of our society. Sofia Ilardi, Charlotte Green, Hanna Ranis and Andora Dyer-Ramberg of Croton-Harmon High School delivered a speech on environmental policy, and Jacob Irons and Kaymbri Wells of Ossining High School spoke on democratic values. Thomas Little and Jaiden Smith of Hendrick Hudson High School’s PRISM club read a poem, “Summer” by Chen Chen, that spoke to the experiences of contemporary LGBTQ+ youth. Peekskill High School students Lucas Gonzalez and Ariana Okoth served as the event’s Masters of Ceremony, and music was provided by the Garrison Middle School Jazz Combo, the Peekskill City Singers, and Yorktown High School’s Raka Bose, who sang the national anthem. Conrad White of Haldane High School led the assembled guests in the Pledge of Allegiance. The ceremony was bookended by an invocation by Rabbi Jennifer Jaech of Croton’s Temple Israel of Northern Westchester and a benediction by Briarcliff Manor resident Ola Nosseir of Our Common Beliefs.
“What an incredible honor, privilege, and pleasure it has been to have Senator Chuck Schumer, one of the top-ranking U.S. Senators, come here to Cortlandt today to swear me in to the New York State Assembly,” said Levenberg at the start of her remarks. “I am also incredibly honored and blessed to have participation and leadership of today’s ceremony by students from schools throughout my Assembly District. After all, what is it that we are doing in elected office if not working to make this a better world for our children and their children as well?”
The full text of Levenberg’s remarks can be found on her New York State Assembly web page.