Newly elected Nassau District Court Judge Robert Pipia got a standing ovation Thursday after he described his rise to the bench despite a rare neuromuscular disorder.
"I would never change a bit, ever," Pipia, 50, said from his wheelchair.
Nassau Republican Party chairman Joseph Mondello told the crowd gathered in Mineola for the induction of six Nassau judges that Pipia -- formerly the Hempstead Town supervisor's executive assistant -- was determined to rise above his disability.
New Family Court Judge Danielle Peterson said she learned about public service from watching her father, former Hempstead Supervisor Gregory Peterson.
"I will work hard to do the right thing every day when I put on my robe," said Peterson, 39, a former principal law clerk.
Family Court Judge Thomas Rademaker, 43, former principal law clerk for Court of Claims Judge Philip Grella, said he aspired to the bench from the first day of law school.
Grella told him the community "will be rewarded by your wisdom, healed by your kindness, inspired by your dignity and comforted by your compassion."
Bishop R.W. Harris Sr. of Uniondale's Grace Cathedral International called his daughter, new District Court Judge Darlene Harris, 49, Long Island's first African-American female Republican judge.
The former county legislator said her father "kicked, pushed and prodded me from the time I came out of the womb to be a lawyer."
District Court Judge Tricia Ferrell, 41, re-elected by a slim margin, told the crowd: "Every vote matters."
Nassau Legis. Vincent Muscarella saluted his brother, new District Court Judge Ignatius Muscarella, 58, after joking that his kindergarten report card had shown concerns about his development because he couldn't tie his shoelaces.
The judge, a former guardianship referee, said he knew the power he now has comes from those who voted for him.