Eric Adams sworn in as borough president, introduces theme of One Brooklyn

January 20, 2014 Helen Klein
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Before a standing-room-only crowd, and setting an ambitious agenda, Borough President Eric Adams was sworn in ceremoniously on the evening of Sunday, January 20, some three weeks into his first term in office.

“Today’s not about me,” he told the crowd. “Today is about the borough of Brooklyn. So, you don’t stand for me. I stand for you. I’m not here to be served. I’m here to serve.”

The gala event was held at the Brooklyn Museum and included both a wide range of entertainment from diverse arts groups across the borough as well as speeches by numerous dignitaries, including new New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, former Borough President Marty Markowitz, Police Commissioner William Bratton, Congressmember Nydia Velazquez and Senator Charles Schumer.

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Adams, who got a standing ovation when he approached the lectern, repeatedly stressed his theme of One Brooklyn, building on the borough’s dramatic diversity, as he sketched out big plans for Brooklyn that he said would be aimed at reducing the inequity between the haves and the have-nots.

To that end, he said, he wants to grow the borough’s economy to include those who have been left out up till now, as well as providing practical help for small businesses, quality-of-life assistance for rank-and-file Brooklynites, increased educational options and improved infrastructure.

“Now is the time to turn our popularity into prosperity not for some, but for all in Brooklyn,” Adams contended. Noting that two-thirds of Brooklyn’s community districts have had “negative growth,” he said, “We will do what we can to move Brooklyn to the next level. In Brooklyn, we don’t just strive for greatness. We define it.”

In addition, Adams announced an expansive volunteer program, Team Brooklyn, that he hopes will benefit not only the borough at large but those who donate their time and effort. “It’s crucial to volunteer,” he exhorted. “By helping others, you help yourself.”

As for his ultimate goal, Adams was clear: “That is what I want my legacy to be: making the lives of everyday Brooklynites better.

“With all our success, people are still hurting,” he added, stressing that there are public safety implications for such a situation. “Hurt people hurt people,” said the former NYPD captain, who rose through the ranks before trading his uniform for a business suit and heading to Albany as a state senator representing central Brooklyn.

Speaking before Adams was Deputy Borough President Diana Reyna, the first Hispanic female to hold that office, as Adams is the first African American to hold the borough presidency. Reyna, a former councilmember from Bushwick, noted, “We promised each other the very best days are ahead for Brooklyn. Now, more than any other time in our history, more than any other borough, Brooklyn is ready to lead.”

Adams was introduced by de Blasio and his wife Chirlane McCray, with de Blasio telling the crowd, “I’m so excited to be his partner in making Brooklyn a better place, making New York City a better place.”

Among those present in the audience were former Mayor David Dinkins, as well as a horde of the borough’s legislators, judges and civic leaders.

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