LOOK: Community Inauguration Ceremony of Filipino-American State Assemblymember Steven Raga

Last Sunday, January 15th, 2023, the Office of State Assemblymember Steven Raga held the official inauguration ceremony at the Queens Museum with over 300 attendees, in which many wore their respective traditional and cultural attires in celebration of the historic moment and diversity of New York’s 30th Assembly District and of the Borough of Queens. Assemblymember Raga officially became the first-ever Filipino American to be elected, in any elected office, in the 245 years of the New York State Legislature during the official State Assembly swearing-in at the New York State Capitol during the first week of January 2023. The inauguration ceremony was led by the Master of Ceremonies, Anna Lucente Sterling, Filipino American reporter and video journalist based in New York City. 

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The speakers of the inauguration were among the following: U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Speaker of the New York State Assembly Carl Heastie, State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, Deputy Majority Leader State Senator Michael Gianaris, State Senator John Liu, Assemblymember Catalina Cruz, and long-time friend and Filipino American community leader, Rachelle Ocampo. Notable attendees included Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, and several colleagues in the New York State Assembly including Assemblymember Ron Kim, Assemblymember Juan Ardila, Assemblymember Jennifer Rajkumar, Assemblymember Alex Bores, Assemblymember Jessica Gonzales-Rojas, and City Councilmember Julie Won. 

“This is a historic day,” said State Senator John Liu. “The Filipino American community has done so much for New York, our city, our state, and indeed our nation. The community continues to grow by leaps, by bounds, and I am honored and look forward to serving our respective communities, and representing the Asian American community in the chambers of Albany, alongside the first-ever Filipino American to be elected in New York State.” “I’m proud to have encouraged Steven to seek this position and serve our borough in elective office,” said

Congresswoman Grace Meng. “I congratulate him for this historic feat for the Asian American community and for Queens. I am more than confident that Assemblymember Raga will deliver, advocate, and fight for his constituents in the 30th Assembly District and I look forward to working with him to deliver support for the families of Queens, and our shared constituencies.” 

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U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer spoke and administered the Ceremonial Oath of Office. “I know Assemblymember Steven Raga will continue in the fine tradition of Filipino Americans in public service in our nation, as he broke the glass ceiling becoming the first-ever Filipino American to be elected in New York State, and it’s not surprising why voters of all backgrounds chose Steven to become their next Assemblymember,” said U.S. Senate Majority Leader Schumer. After being administered the Oath of Office, the Assemblymember gave a speech reflecting upon his recent journey to office, as well as his early upbringing growing up in an immigrant single-mother household, and thanked supporters and friends “Today, I am humbled by the outpour of support, filled with gratitude for the duty that you have entrusted upon me, and excited about the possibilities for collaboration, and working together towards a better Assembly District 30, and New York State” said Assemblymember Raga. 

Afterward, there were cultural performances from performers within the district including the reciting of the poem Maspeth Marches On by renowned poet and Maspeth native, Vincent Tomeo, the Sinulog by Filipino American dance group, CEBU Inc. Tribu Cebuano, Ecuadorian Traditions and Customs by local Ecuadorian dance group, Yachak Kallary directed by Javier Chanla, and the closing performance, Bayan Ko, dueted by Miguel Braganza II and Krizia Daya. 

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