Video: A New State Senator Sizes Up the Task in Albany

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Ben Max/Gotham Gazette

State Sen.-elect Jessica Ramos of Queens.

A new year isn’t the only thing that starts on Tuesday. January 1 also marks a new term for elected officials like Governor Andrew Cuomo and Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, who were re-elected to their posts, and the beginning of a new job for veteran officials like Letitia James, who was the city’s public advocate and is becoming the state’s attorney general, and John Liu, a former Councilmember and city comptroller who will join the State Senate.

For a few of the Democrats joining Liu in the Senate majority, the day is the official start of a new life—as an elected official. Jessica Ramos, who defeated the late Jose Peralta—one of the former Independent Democratic Conference members–in the September primary and cruised to a general election win in November, is one of those, and she joined Ben Max and me to tape this interview shortly before Christmas.

In it, Ramos discusses what it’s been like getting set up to serve the 13th district, which means finding office space and hiring staff even though she is not yet on the state payroll. She also addresses the unique circumstances of her transition given Peralta’s death just before Thanksgiving. And she talked about her priorities for legislation in Albany, including progress she hopes to see on reproductive rights, the Dream Act, congestion pricing and single-payer healthcare.

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