It was a proud moment for New Yorkers as they gathered at the Queens Museum in New York City on Sunday to witness the oath-taking of Steven Raga as the first Filipino American assemblymember in the state of New York.
US and New York state officials led by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who administered the oath of office, joined community leaders of diverse cultures in showing their confidence for the District 30 assemblymember.
"It was really high time that we elected a Filipino American to any office in the State of New York, let alone the New York State Assembly," New York State Senator John Liu said.
The Fil-Am community expressed an outpouring of support, cheers, tears, as well as expectations.
"I'm expecting him to open the doors, bring more people with him," Public Wise chief information officer Maria Javier noted. "He really cares about the next generation and he really thinks about building that bench and what public service looks like for the next generation of Filipinos."
Raga stressed, "our community is very talented. I'm happy to set the tone. I may be the first Filipino elected in the State of New York. I'm definitely not the last."
Raga has first hand knowledge of the issues of District 30, as he himself grew up in the community with his late parents.
The 39-year-old is also grateful to know that he has already been considered for committee assignments close to his heart.
"I have to go back to Albany and get to work... I'm excited to work with finance on banks. I went to business school. I have a background in organizational, as well. Veterans affairs, social services, we have a big background in, and government operations were big for me. That's the big one I wish I got, and I got it," Raga said.
"I'm very happy and grateful for the trust that Speaker [Carl] Heastie has given to me. So, to take on this role, I'm looking forward to it."