By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Councilman Carlos Menchaca has already been officially sworn into office and has cast his first vote in the City Council.
But the freshman lawmaker is planning a public inauguration ceremony and has invited community leaders, business leaders and clergy members in his council district to see him take the oath of office on Sunday, Jan. 12, at Sunset Park High School, 153 35th St., at 1 p.m.
Menchaca (D-Sunset Park-Red Hook) was elected in a landslide in November. He had earlier stunned the political world when he defeated longtime councilwoman Sara Gonzalez in the Democratic Party Primary in September. It marked his first time running for public office. He is the first Mexican-American to become a City Council member.
U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-Brooklyn-Manhattan) and former borough president Marty Markowitz are the co-chairs of the inauguration ceremony.
“With the overwhelming support of residents, fearless volunteers, bold unions and visionary organizations, Carlos Menchaca has been elected to represent Brooklyn's 38th District in the New York City Council. Let's come together to celebrate this amazing journey and toast to the bright future of the 38th District,” the invitation sent by Menchaca’s transition team reads.
The 38th Council District, which Menchaca represents also includes Greenwood Heights, the Bay Ridge Towers co-op apartment buildings, South Slope and Windsor Terrace.
Menchaca is a former community liaison on LGBT issues for former council speaker Christine Quinn and also previously worked as a liaison for Markowitz.
He told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle in an interview in September that his goal as a freshman councilman is to “set the tone and the stage for maximum impact.
“I will work on bringing jobs to the community. I will focus on affordable housing. I want to do something for our overcrowded schools. And of course, I will continue to work for Sandy victims in Red Hook,” he told the Eagle.
If not for a certain storm that hit New York City in 2012, Menchaca might not have run.
“My thought-process came through the lens of Sandy. It changed my paradigm as a local resident. It was an eye-opening experience on how government works,” Menchaca said.
In the days and weeks following the Oct. 29, 2012 super-storm, Menchaca spent a great deal of time in Red Hook, a community that was hit hard by the massive storm. He organized efforts to get relief and supplies into the damaged area.
When his work was done, he found that people were encouraging him to run for public office, he said.
Even before the council session began on Jan. 8, Menchaca had hit the ground running. The council’s official website posted a photo of him on its home page working in his office.