Community thanks Millman for 17 years of service
by Jess Berry
Aug 20, 2014 | 2476 views | 0 0 comments | 81 81 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Joan Millman is leaving the Assembly to join the Department for the Aging.
Joan Millman is leaving the Assembly to join the Department for the Aging.
Assemblywoman Joan Millman is supporting Jo Ann Simon (left) as her replacement.
Assemblywoman Joan Millman is supporting Jo Ann Simon (left) as her replacement.
Last week, senior citizens and elected officials gathered at the Eileen C. Dugan Senior Center in Carroll Gardens to honor 17 years of work from retired Assemblywoman Joan Millman, while highlighting the contentious race to fill her now-empty seat for the 52nd district.

A number of politicians, including Comptroller Scott Stringer, Councilman Brad Lander, State Senator Velmanette Montgomery and a representative for Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez thanked Millman and spoke highly of her work and character.

“She really combines a fierce commitment to what’s right for our community and our city and our neighborhood with a wonderful ability to build relationships,” Lander said.

Millman is best known for her work advocating for the seniors in her district, which shows how well-suited she will be for her new position in the city’s Department of Aging.

Seniors at the Eileen Dugan Senior Center are all too familiar with Millman’s work, as she was a big contributor in helping the center reopen in its current location with partner non-profit AMICO.

The center’s long-time program director, Carol Reid, said the center “would not have reopened without her.”

“Not once did I ever call her office and she didn’t have time to address whatever problem I had,” Reid said. “She’s always been supportive of the seniors, the educational programs here at the center, and we just love her for the things she’s done on our behalf.”

Present at the celebration was Jo Anne Simon, the female Democratic District Leader and one of the candidates to fill Millman’s seat.

Simon is a friend of Millman and immediately received the former assemblywoman’s support in the race. Millman made sure to take time at her party to make a pitch for Simon’s candidacy, saying that Simon is ready to “hit the ground running,” as she has been a friend and colleague of Millman’s for years.

“She knows about the legislative work that I’ve done, some of the things that I didn’t get to finish that I’m going to ask her to finish and continue to work on, and that’s the feeling of confidence that I have in Jo Anne, knowing that we worked so closely together all these years,” Millman said.

Montgomery, Velazquez and Stringer have all endorsed Simon already, and took time to voice their support after their thanks were delivered to Millman.

Montgomery said she was sad about the departure of Millman, who she said she calls a “sister.”

“I’m really losing a big part of my team in Albany, so I’m feeling a little sad about that,” Montgomery said. “I am happy that I will be joined by Jo Anne Simon, who will be the next sister in the team.”

Both Borough President Eric Adams and Deputy Borough President Diana Reyna have also endorsed Simon for assembly.

Simon has served as the female Democratic District Leader and State Committeewoman since 2004. She worked to save Long Island College Hospital (LICH), and also has a strong background in working with seniors, just as Millman does.

“I’m looking to continue my in-depth work in the community and be a voice for the community district that I have been working so hard for and for a long time,” Simon said. “I’ve worked with Joan, and I know a lot about the programs that Joan has put into practice, and I’m looking to continue many of those.”

Lander was the only elected official present at Millman’s celebration who has endorsed the other candidate for her seat, community leader and fellow Democrat Pete Sikora.

In addition to Lander, Sikora has received endorsements from State Senator Daniel Squadron, Councilman Steve Levin, the Working Families Party and the Independent Neighborhood Democrats, who have particularly noted his work organizing and advocating to save LICH.

“Pete Sikora is a strong advocate for livable, affordable, sustainable communities,” Lander said. “He’s been a leader in efforts to preserve healthcare services at LICH, protect workers’ rights and confront climate change. I know he’ll be a real fighter and problem solver for our neighborhoods in Albany.”

When announcing his candidacy, Sikora said he would work on a number of hot-button issues in the district if he were elected.

“As your assemblyman, you can count on me to stand up to reckless developers, to support local businesses, to fight for our schools and to make this district more affordable for our families,” he said.

The Democratic Primary for the vacant seat will take place on September 9.

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