By Rob Abruzzese
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Brooklyn Independent Democrats held its annual awards reception at the elegant home of Hon. Alice Fisher Rubin in Prospect Park South where it gave Letitia James the Woman of the Year award and honored five others on Thursday night.
“We are very thankful to retired Civil Court Judge Alice Fisher Rubin and her husband Lowell for opening their beautiful home to us, we are honored to be here,” said Hon. Lori Citron Knipel, who helped to organize the event. “We are very honored to have such a wonderful slate of distinguished people that we are very proud to honor.”
James was honored with the Woman of the Year Award and she joined Hon. Alice fisher Rubin and Lowell Rubin, who were given the “Special Annette Mont Lifetime Public Service Award,” Borough President Eric Adams, Nicholas Gravante, chairman of the board at the Brooklyn Public Library, and Salvatore Tagliaferro, president of Carpenters Local 926.
Chairman of the Democratic Party of Brooklyn Frank Seddio presented James with her award. He spoke her political rise and her run for city council in 2003 and her unlikely rise to Public Advocate a few years later. He said it was that victory that really made her leadership abilities shine through.
“She has brought something to the table that is going to make a big difference,” Seddio said. “She's been a good partner with our mayor and she speaks out on the issues she believes in and does it passionately. She stands with the people and thinks about the people and that is what's more important than everything else.”
Congressman Jerry Nadler talked about the importance of the public libraries and how they helped shape his own distinguished career before presenting Gravante with his award.
“Reading his biography, god forbid I should ever get into trouble, I want him as my lawyer,” Nadler joked. “He's an excellent lawyer in so many different ways and he's chairman of the board of the Brooklyn Public Library, an institution that I hold dear since I spent so much of my youth in the public library.”
“I'm a lawyer in private practice, I've been in private practice my entire career,” Gravante said. “I have not dedicated my life to public service the way some other people have. The unheard third are the people really living below the poverty line in New York City that nobody hears about and those are the people that the library is most important to.”
District leader Jacob Gold presented Tagliaferro with his award and spoke about his leadership in helping to build up Brooklyn.
“I'm just a carpenter amongst some very honorable people here and I want to thank everyone for having me here tonight,” Tagliaferro said. “Brooklyn is a great place. It's still the fourth largest city in the country. Work is coming back here. We want to be partners with the politicians and build us back up into a proud borough again.”
Adams did not make the event, but Citron Knipel spoke briefly about what his leadership has meant to the borough in the short time he has been borough president and thanked him for his commitment to Brooklyn.