Alessandria Biaggi / Twitter
In a packed theater in the Bronx, local and national politicians, as well as constituents crammed the 500-seat Lovinger Theater auditorium at Lehman College to watch as Alessandra Biaggi, 32, was sworn in as the new State Senator for the 34th District which she had won in a surprise victory over incumbent Jeff Klein who had held the seat for 14 years.
After introductory remarks from Senator Chuck Schumer and NY State Senate Democratic leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and a parade of dedicated interns who had gone door-to-door to win votes, Biaggi took the stage in a flattering black business maxi to announce that she would promise to visit every high school in her district because young people part of the solution to low participation in politics. She vowed to also register every young person she could in those high schools.
Biaggi went on to say that one of her first acts as a state legislator would be to implement easier voting laws so that NY State would go from one of the last place spots in voting access to first place.
She emphasized how important education was for the future, especially for women, telling the story of her 68 year-old grandmother Maria, who went back to school as a senior citizen to get a degree in gerontology from Lehman College, and taught her that nothing is impossible for women who believe in themselves. Biaggi pledged to increase the presence of powerful women in our society and said that this campaign showed her that it is just as easy to unlearn bad policies as it is to learn them. “This campaign taught me that there is nothing more powerful than a few determined people who have decided that the time has come.”
Biaggi vowed to commit to “transformational politics of love and strength that solves problems and makes us better.” She pledged a term of “good faith and transparency, and a way of respect, inclusion and caring that puts people first.”
The ceremony closed with an acoustic sing along of “This Land is Your Land” and lots of hugs and handshakes at the hour-long meet and greet after the ceremony.
I met Alessandra Biaggi a year ago at a women in politics lecture at NYU where she talked about what it was like working on, and being inspired by, Hilary Clinton’s presidential campaign. I asked her to write a memoir of that experience, but she obviously had other plans, but she did write an essay in the award-winning #MeToo anthology that Riverdale Avenue Books published last year which is available free as a download here.