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BY SAM SPOKONY | After winning a tough re-election campaign against a much younger opponent with little political experience, Councilmember Margaret Chin showed off her own strong political ties as she entered a second term at her inauguration Sunday.
Chin, who defeated Jenifer Rajkumar by 17 points in the Democratic primary and then ran unopposed in the general election, celebrated her second swearing-in alongside key figures in the city’s new administration, other councilmembers as well as local, state and federal officials at P.S. 130 in Chinatown.
City Councilmember Melissa Mark-Viverito — who has been claiming for weeks she has the votes to be elected speaker Wed., Jan. 8 — attended, and Chin proudly said “she’s my choice for speaker.”
Newly elected Public Advocate Letitia James and Comptroller Scott Stringer — who’d worked closely with Chin in their previous roles as Councilmember and Manhattan Borough President, respectively — led the event off with strong words of support for Chin, and their sentiments were later joined by an appearance from Emma Wolfe, the newly appointed director of intergovernmental affairs for Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“She’s a powerhouse, and that’s why I love her dearly,” said James.
In other remarks at the event, Chin was also praised — always professionally, but sometimes on a deeply personal level — by Sen. Chuck Schumer, House Representatives Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney, State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Borough President Gale Brewer, and State Sen. Daniel Squadron.
“What we can say about Margaret is this: No one put a silver spoon in her mouth, and no one plucked her up and put her into high office,” said Schumer, who, among other things, would go on describe Chin as a “tiger” when it came to her persistence in securing disaster recovery aid after Hurricane Sandy.
“Margaret, you have earned all this,” Schumer declared.
In her own remarks after being sworn in ceremonially Jan.5, Chin proclaimed her support for de Blasio’s universal pre-K plan — although its accompanying tax hike may now have trouble getting the green light from Governor Cuomo — as well as pledging to create more affordable housing and also to continue pressuring the city to deal with public school overcrowding issues Downtown.
“We have to build more schools so that our children will not have to be on a waiting list for kindergarten,” said Chin.
Since the inauguration took place at P.S. 130, on Baxter St., Chin noted that she had, in many ways, come full circle in her career. A half-century ago, she attended that same school as a young girl.
“And now here I am, at P.S. 130, where I first learned English and graduated in 1965,” she said. “I truly could not have imagined then that I would someday be lucky enough to represent this district that I love.”