Local officials congratulate Biden, Harris on inauguration

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Local officials congratulated President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on being inaugurated to their positions last Wednesday. (Photo courtesy of the congressman's office)

Local Democratic officials extended words of gratitude and support to President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris upon being inaugurated last Wednesday.

U.S. Reps. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) and Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City) were among the first to congratulate the two on their victory over Donald Trump and Mike Pence, which was confirmed in early December. Suozzi, a member of the Problem Solvers Caucus, praised Biden and said his efforts will be able to reunite a country whose division became prevalent during the past election season.

“President Joe Biden is exactly the person we need right now at this time in American history,” Suozzi said. “Joe Biden will bridge our divide and work to heal our nation. He can and he will bring us together because he knows the politics, he knows the policy, and he knows the people.”

Rice touted the importance of Harris’ historic position by becoming the first female, Black and Indian-American vice president in the nation’s history.  Rice also said she hoped that the inauguration served as a turning point for the divisiveness throughout the nation in efforts for everyone to begin the healing process.

“I’m confident President Biden and Vice President Harris will do all they can to unify our nation,” Rice said. “They will lead with dignity and work to represent all Americans. I look forward to working with their new Administration to finally end this pandemic, rebuild our economy, and deliver on our collective promises to the American people.”

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran also recognized the significance of Harris’ election as vice president along with a “peaceful transfer of power” less than one month after the Capitol building was attacked by a mob of Trump supporters.

“No matter who you voted for, today is a day for all Americans to come together in support of our country and the peaceful transfer of power,” Curran said last Wednesday. “Nassau County is ready to work with the new Administration to defeat COVID-19 and rebuild our economy.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) lauded Biden for his executive actions the day he was inaugurated, which included rejoining the Paris climate agreement, ending discriminatory bans on entry to the country from primarily Muslim countries and enacting the Build Back Better recovery plan which will prioritize American-made products.

“We have turned the page and begun a new chapter in the history [of] our democracy,” Schumer tweeted last Wednesday. “And I am full of hope.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Biden was New York’s “go-to person” under the Obama administration and has been a longstanding friend of the state. 

“The president is a leader and a tone setter and when he is strong enough to use words like ‘love,’ like ‘healing,’ that’s a special person, because it’s hard to show your soul in that way,” Cuomo said. “It’s hard to be that honest and that authentic, and that’s who Joe Biden is.”

Cuomo touted the importance of funding for state and local municipalities, especially New York. Biden’s relief proposal includes $350 billion for state and local financing, but the breakdown of funds to each state remains unclear.

“We have to make sure in that process that New York is represented, but [Biden] put the plan on the table that he said he would,” Cuomo said.

Assemblyman Ed Ra (R-Franklin Square) also extended his congratulations to the new administration.

“There is more that unites us than divides us all as Americans,” Ra tweeted last Wednesday. “Your successes will be America’s successes and we are rooting for you.”

Efforts to reach the county’s Republican office for comment on the inauguration were unavailing.

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