Written by Rachel Shapiro Friday, 08 January 2010 00:00
Supervisor Kate Murray wants to welcome residents home to the Town of Hempstead and she did so at the town’s inauguration ceremony on Tuesday, Jan. 5.
“I want to reach out to each and every neighbor and say welcome home, welcome to Hempstead,” she said.
Taking the oath of office were Murray, Town Clerk Mark Bonilla, Councilman Anthony Santino, Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby and Councilman Gary Hudes.
The inauguration festivities, held at Town Hall, began with a Scottish music ensemble leading a processional of the newly elected officials to be honored in the ceremony.
Supervisor Murray’s theme for the day’s event was “Welcome Home to America’s Largest Township.” After a video presentation honoring the Town of Hempstead as home, the National Anthem sung by Broadway’s Billy Elliot star Trent Kowalik, the Pledge of Allegiance recited by U.S. Army National Guard Specialist Richard Farquharson and a prayer by a member of the clergy, Murray was sworn in by County Executive Ed Mangano for her fourth term as town supervisor.
“As we celebrate 365 years of rich history with 762,000 members of our close-knit family, our town officials will continue to be caring, thoughtful and innovative in their approach to government,” she said after she took her oath of office.
“We will look beyond the four walls, the bricks and mortar of our own houses as we continue to build a place that embraces diversity, provides opportunity and gives all people a stake in the American Dream. We have opened the door to a bright future and we are proud to proclaim, ‘Welcome home, welcome to the Town of Hempstead.’ ”
Murray’s hope to keep the town flourishing, passing it on to future generations, is seen in the projects she has embraced over her past term and what she promises to continue championing in her newly-started term.
Murray stressed that not only is environmental friendliness needed to keep the town alive but a flourishing business and housing development scheme, recreation and a healthy overall way of life have to be kept on the “to do” list for the town.
“A greener and cleaner planet is the goal for all governments and Hempstead Town is setting a new standard for others to emulate,” Murray said.
Long Island’s first hydrogen fueling station powering zero-emission cars is a product of that goal, as is embracing and utilizing solar and wind power and beautifying downtown areas in towns within the township. All these projects and more are vital to maintaining a “home” in the Town, Murray said.
“I work with public officials who share my commitment to making our Town the best place to call home,” Murray said.
After each individual’s swearing-in, Council members Santino and Goosby and Town Clerk Bonilla addressed the crowd, thanking their families, volunteers and voters and promised to fulfill their promises to voters, to further the goal of making their “home” worth living in.
“I am proud to be an elected official in the greatest township,” said Bonilla. “People need to see their elected officials; I promise to always be approachable and accountable.”
Bonilla said the clerk’s office has been “more diverse, more responsive and more efficient” under his watch.
Murray swore in Levittown’s Gary Hudes, who was introduced as “Not known for his soft-spoken manner, the councilman from Levittown is among the most passionate and hardest-working officials anywhere. He has been called the recycling king for his passion for the curbside recycling program and he has even been called a one-man graffiti SWAT team.”
Hudes took the podium to laughs from guests as his introduction hit the nail right on the head.
“This is my 10th year in government,” Hudes said. “For those of you who are unfamiliar with the anniversary chart of gifts, the 10 year is a diamond.”
To the laughs of the guests, Hudes replied, “Before you ask, let me begin by telling you that no, I did not bring all the ladies free diamonds from my business to celebrate my 10th anniversary.”
Turning to a more serious note, Hudes extended his appreciation for the guidance and friendship he found in Murray.
“Kate has been there by my side 110 percent,” Hudes said of Murray. “She is the captain of our team.”
Hudes touched upon his promises and fulfillment of those goals.
“Ten years ago, I stood before you and promised to bring my extensive community and business experience to the Town of Hempstead,” Hudes said. “At that time we promised to bring personal service, return phone calls, get answers for residents and give them the type of customer service that they didn’t expect from government. We’ve done that and much, much more.”
“No job was too small,” Hudes said. “When our residents needed something as simple as a new recycling bin, I visited their homes in the early morning hours and personally delivered more than 10,000 bins to homeowners to encourage recycling.”
Echoing the sentiment that the voters and residents of the town are the reason why the elected officials are where they are, Murray said, “JFK once said the basis of effective government is public confidence. Rest assured I will continue to work tirelessly to justify that confidence.
“I am dedicated to putting people ahead of politics,” Murray said.