NY pols flock to D.C. for historic swearing-in

By Emily Ngo

Councilman John Liu is understandably eager to attend Barack Obama’s inauguration today, but his 8-year-old son has a special reason to look forward to it.

“It’ll be the first time he has ever missed school,” said Liu (D-Queens). “He’s excited; the whole class is excited.”

Third-grader Joey, along with Liu’s wife Jenny, are among the loved ones joining New York politicians in Washington, D.C., for Obama’s historic swearing-in as the nation’s first black president.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who will be part of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s inaugural entourage, is bringing partner Kim Catullo as her guest.

“This historic moment, for me, represents a sense of renewed hope and optimism,” Quinn said. “Barack Obama has shown that despite the obstacles we are faced with, we can overcome them.”

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has more official obligations than social ones today, but he’s looking forward to them all, said spokesman Joshua Vlasto. Schumer is to attend the Mid-Atlantic inaugural ball tonight at the D.C. Convention Center among other events, Vlasto said.Rep. Anthony Weiner, also in the capital, said the anticipation about Obama’s next four years is so high that he can physically feel it. “There is a palpable sense that the door of change has swung open,” said Weiner (D-Brooklyn/Queens). “I believe New Yorkers want problem solving, not politics.”

Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion, Rep. Charles Rangel (D-Manhattan/Queens) are among other New Yorkers expected to attend the inauguration.

In New York, however, hundreds are slated to pack City Hall to watch Obama’s moment via television. Interest in the event was so great that officials were forced to turn down guests. Liu, though he’ll be in Washington, is hosting a similar screening at Flushing Town Hall.

At Borough Hall in Brooklyn, Borough President Marty Markowitz will be watching history unfold with his constituents, said spokeswoman Laura Sinagra. State Sens. Eric Adams (D-Brooklyn) and Toby Ann Stavisky (D-Queens) also are staying in town to watch from familiar surroundings.

Some local lawmakers without a golden ticket to Inauguration Day may, in the end, have a better view of Obama than Liu.

“I’m in Row 56. I have no idea where that is, but I’m very excited,” the councilman said. “The country and indeed the world changed when Obama was elected.”

Tags: politics

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