Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer began her second term in office after a swearing-in ceremony Wednesday afternoon.
Surrounded by friends, family, community board members and fellow officials such as Public Advocate Letitia James, Brewer and Deputy Borough President Aldrin Bonilla renewed their oaths for the 2018-2021 term at the Manhattan Borough President’s Office.
However, when time came to recite that she would uphold the charter of the city of New York, Brewer interjected, saying, “Even though I think it should be changed in some ways,” to which the audience of about 150 erupted in applause and laughter.
After finishing the oath, Brewer highlighted some of her achievements during her first term as borough president, which includes her push for the Fair Chance Act that prohibits employers from asking about criminal history until a final job offer has been made and a law that added caregivers to the city’s anti-discrimination law.
Praising Brewer’s commitment to the people of Manhattan, Bonillo said, “She’s tough on problems in a society when more often than not, we are tough on the people who have the problems.”
As the 27th borough president, Brewer also raised awareness of the issues she plans to fight for over the next four years. She addressed the resource crisis that the city’s small businesses are facing, the dire impact of the lack of social workers in public schools and what she considers the biggest challenge of all — the affordability of the borough.
She also promised to focus on residents’ quality of life concerns and announced ongoing plans to increase transparency of 311 data for the average citizen.
“She always puts her head down and focuses on serving the interest of New Yorkers and Manhattanites. And that’s why she is beloved,” James said of Brewer during the ceremony. “She is truly our modern-day Eleanor Roosevelt.”
James wished that there were no term limits so that Brewer could be Manhattan borough president forever — an idea echoed by several in the crowd.
In the Nov. 7 general election, Brewer defeated all three of her opponents — Republican Frank Scala, Green Party candidate Daniel Vila Rivera and Libertarian Brian Waddell — with 83 percent of the vote.
Before holding the office of borough president, she represented the sixth council district on the City Council between 2002 and 2013. While on the council, she also served as founding chair of the Committee on Technology from 2002 to 2005, after which she led the Government Operations Committee until 2013.
Applauding Brewer’s dedication, Deputy Borough President for Budget and Economic Development Matthew Washington said, “If you call Gale Brewer because your cat is stuck in a tree, she will go to the hardware store, purchase a ladder, go to that tree, climb the ladder, get the cat out of the tree, deliver you your cat, and then she will introduce a bill creating an automatic cat-releasing mechanism for the city of New York.
“She will address the issue for you as an individual and then she will make sure it is not an issue for anyone else in the city.”