Susan Kettner was sworn in as the City of New Rochelle's first elected female judge. Jared Rice was sworn in to serve the last year of the unexpired term of James Stowe who passed away in August, replacing Roxy Stowe who was appointed by the City Council in September to serve in place of her husband until the City could hold a special election in November.
Mayor Noam Bramson served as Master of Ceremonies. Rev. Allen Paul Weaver Jr. gave the benediction. City Council Members Barry Fertel and Marianne Sussman recognized the various dignitaries on hand including City Council Members Lou Trangucci and Al Tarantino, School Board Members Valeria Orellana, Liana Merchant, David Lacher and Diedre Polow, Library Board Member Greg Varian, New York State Assembly Representatives Amy Paulin and George Latimer, Jimmy Generoso, Domenic Procopio and others. Former Council Member Chris Selin made closing remarks. The Butterflies sang and two students from Albert Leonard Middle School performed an instrumental medley of American the Beautiful and Imagine.
Notable absences were County Legislator's Jim Maisano and Sheila Marcotte, State Senator's Jeff Klein and Suzi Oppenheimer, City Council Member Richard St. Paul, City Manager Chuck Strome and Roxy Stowe. No administrators from the City School District of New Rochelle attended nor the the President or Vice President of the Board of Education.
Judge Susan I. Kettner
Saturday, January 1, 2011
(Remarks as prepared for delivery)
The sun rose this morning, on the first day of this New Year 2011, and as it does every day, it offers a new start for each of us. Each new day is a fresh beginning – and each New Year’s Day carries the promise of 365 new starts. We are gathered here today for a new beginning for our city – Jared Rice and myself, who have been elected by our neighbors to serve the people of our city, as Councilman and City Judge, respectively - are taking on important public responsibilities on this first day of the new year. Indeed, as the first woman ever elected City Court Judge, a new day has dawned in our city!
This is an American moment: The peaceful transfer of power to new hands by the Will of the People. No crowds gather threatening violence; no military might or maneuvers interfere with our American tradition of elections and inaugurations.
Perhaps some of you are here, bleary-eyed after festal New Year’s Eve revelry, to stand with us as a friend or family member. Looking out, I can see that many of you have been with me through the long, winding road of this campaign and election that led us to this moment. You, too, are part of this American tradition, by being here. And we realize that what we celebrating today is not only “newness”, but “continuity” – the common belief we share, whether we be conservative or moderate or liberal, young or old, Republican or Democrat, woman or man, that we are all in this democracy together. And “We the People” own it. It is our magnificent experiment in self-governance, in the face of constant challenge, from Washington on the battlefield, Jefferson and Lincoln, Wilson, FDR right down to the present day. A great experiment in the halls of our nation’s legislatures, executive offices and Courts of Law. Today, we celebrate on the streets of this city we love, our very own Queen City of the Sound.
There are many people here who mean so much to me:
My mother, Dorothy, age 88. Just a few blocks from here off Memorial Highway, 60 years ago, in the New Rochelle Hospital, she gave birth to me, her oldest daughter. She is the daughter-in-law of a lawyer, the wife of a lawyer, and the mother of a lawyer and she is more proud than anyone of her daughter, the judge. My oath of office, as a native daughter, taken solemnly, is an oath to you, each of you, and the 75,000 + people of New Rochelle that I will do this job to the best of my ability. To my Mom above all, and my late father, George, who brought me home to New Rochelle and brought me here to the practice of law, in taking this oath, Mom and Dad, I do promise to make you proud of me.
So many others who mean so much to me are here – my family: sister Debbie, brother Mark, his wife, Beth and my niece Kelly, as well as my sister-in-law, Lucy– thank you for standing by me for years leading up to this moment. To the people who stood beside me in this process – my friends, Barbara Lerman, Barry Fertel, Mary Smith, Paula Johnson Kelly, Roberto Lopez, Alida Yoguez, Matt Feinberg, Eileen Songer McCarthy, Chris Selin, Dr. Stephen Blau, Vinny Rippa and Angela Taylor,.
To my political friends ………. Mayor Bramson.
Noam - thank you for inspiration and support through triumph and disappointment. It has been a great run and I would do it all again. Arnie Klugman - thank you for your commitment and years of work. I have enjoyed working with you and I wish you well. To my dear friend George Latimer – you are the wind beneath my wings and I look forward to working with you outside of the political world in the larger community. My deepest gratitude. And I promise that I will never bring up the topic of judicial pay raises.
Let me also send my regards to retired Judge Preston “Sandy” Scher for his years of dedicated service; to my worthy opponent Cynthia Lobo, for her equal desire to serve; to numerous judges who have served as a role-model for me, Judge Linda Christopher, now State Supreme Court Judge; County Court Judge John Colangelo and Surrogate Anthony Scarpino. And to extend, as well, to my new colleagues, Judge Gail Brooks Rice and Judge Anthony Carbone, my wishes and desire to serve alongside you both to advance the cause of justice.
I enter the judiciary with a wealth of purpose and a firm resolve. Putting aside ephemeral cares of the day, with my passion for justice as my compass, I pledge to be fully faithful to the law; to uphold the Constitution; to preside over a court charged with the equal, impartial and efficient administration of justice. That is my solemn vow to you today.
In Closing; for every new day that dawns, there is also a sunset. As we speak here today at this joyous transition, the sun is setting for some. Tomorrow’s obituaries in the newspaper will remind us that our time on this planet is finite. We have our allotted time, nothing more. Let us strive to make the most of it.
Therefore, I ask you to take a pledge with me: Let us make every day matter as best we can. Let us, all of us, use the skills we have inherited and honed, to the best of our ability, so that decades from now, when people not yet alive, the great-grandchildren of Kelly Kettner and Jocie Rice and Clarisse Lopez look back on those of us who will have by then been long gone…when those people speak of us and this moment in time, I hope they will speak of it as a time of Excellence, a time of Accomplishment, a time of Faith, and a time of Service to the American Ideal we cherish from generation to generation.
Godspeed and Let us give thanks for being able to live in the greatest nation that ever existed on the face of the Earth.
City Council Member District 3 Jared Rice
Saturday, January 1, 2011
(Remarks as prepared for delivery)
Officials, clergy, family, friends, fellow New Rochelleans, good afternoon!"
I am truly honored and humbled for this opportunity to be the next district three council member of New Rochelle. I would not have been able to achieve this privilege if it were not for the countless number of individuals who have worked tirelessly on my behalf. I would like to commend my campaign team including Eli Valentin, Matthew Costa, Pilar Atterberry and Nakia Highland for their hard work and professionalism. I would also like to acknowledge Mayor Bramsom, Arnie Klugman, community leaders and the rest of the district leaders of the New Rochelle Democratic Party who gave up their free time to assist me in my quest to become elected.
During the important moments of your life, it is comforting to know that you have family support. My parents Roger and Gail were and always are a foundation for me. My brother Jordan did double duty as my spiritual adviser and photographer. And of course my wonderful wife Jasmine was with me every step of the way throughout the grueling campaign trail and my lovely daughter Jocelyn was my partner as we walked door to door throughout the district. I am so proud that they are all here today along with my grandmother, aunts and uncles, cousins, my sisters - in - law, my mother - in - law and other family members.
Unfortunately, the sheer number of volunteers, contributors, supporters and well wishers prevents me from singling out any more specific individuals but I would like to say “Thank You” to everyone for making this possible. It is obvious by the number of people who are seated here right now that I did not make this journey alone.
When my parents decided to move to New Rochelle approximately 25 years ago, they were mesmerized by the beauty of the city, diversity of its residents and high quality of the public school system. I quickly became acclimated with New Rochelle and took advantage of what it had to offer. I can still remember the names of several teachers who provided me with adequate attention to nurture my inquisitive spirit. To this day, I am still friends with numerous people from my childhood days at the Remington Boys and Girls club. And, I can remember like it was yesterday the bike rides my brother and I would take to the various parks and lakes scattered throughout the city. If I were to fast forward to today, one could find my wife and me attempting to create a similar foundation for our daughter so that she can reap the benefits of being a New Rochellean.
In preparation for this event, Judge Kettner and I worked extremely hard to provide everybody with an experience befitting its purpose. One of the first things that I noticed was the fact that we were going to have this ceremony on January 1st, 2011 at 1:00 p.m. which written in shorthand is 1-1-11 at 1. Now that’s a lot of ones. The irony of this numerical arrangement is that from the day I won the election in November, I viewed this entire experience as a new beginning. This is not only a new beginning for me, but I view this as a new beginning for District Three as well.
Prior to 1993, the New Rochelle city council was elected on an at large basis. District Three is a special district in that it was the impetus to create citywide districts so that different geographical areas would be able to choose a representative of their own. Currently, District Three lies right in the center of the city and encompasses a diverse cross-section. From the Historic District, to the Trump Towers, to the Hartley Houses to the Halycon Neighborhood, the entire district is special because of the people who live in it. I am fortunate to be able to follow a strong litany of former council members in the late Rhoda Quash, Bee Brown and the late Jim Stowe. I would also like to praise Roxie Stowe for providing the third district with continuous representation and filling in for her husband as a result of his untimely passing.
So what does a New Rochelle councilmember actually do? I can give you the technical response and say that the City Charter allows me to set policy; to approve the budget; and to enact local laws, resolutions and ordinances. Or, I can give you an answer that I feel explains it better. A couple of weeks ago, I went to visit an afterschool program at the Hartley Houses community room. During my meeting with the kids, one of the program administrators asked “does anybody know what a councilman does”? A young girl about 8 years old confidently raised her hand and replied “Mr. Rice was elected to City Council so he can help the people”.
I went home that evening and thought about what the little girl has said earlier and came to the realization that what I first interpreted as a simple analysis of my job duties was actually the most sophisticated job description that I could think of. My job as council member of the third district is to HELP people.
This help extends to you whether you are black, white, Latino or Asian. This help extends to you whether you are rich, middle class or poor. This help extends to you whether you are a senior, a young adult or a child. It is the ability for me to be able to help that gives me great pride in my role to be your public servant and I look forward to the awesome responsibilities that await me.
It should come as no surprise that our city, along with our state and country, is in the midst of a difficult economic climate. Home values continue to decline, unemployment remains high and discretionary income remains scarce. However, those should not be reasons for us to give up hope. It is during these trying times where we must show solidarity and look ahead towards the future, not the past. Patience will be required as we plant seeds with a mindset of the upcoming generations that will inherit our city. This is a “new beginning” and it mandates that we change our outlook and adapt to the world of the 21st century. Although many of the problems we face today are global in nature, local solutions are necessary to turn things around.
The United States has less than 5% of the world’s population but nearly 25% of the world’s prisoners. Those numbers also reflect local criminal justice patterns; sadly, some of our young people are part of this grim statistic. Even before I ran for office, I had envisioned a program, which I am hoping to implement, that will deter young people away from crime and into productivity. New Rochelle can become a leader in this field by creating innovative alternatives that allow would-be future prisoners the opportunity to break the cycle.
With the same 5% of the world’s population, the United States consumes 25% of the world’s oil supply. When you take account of the fact that the world’s proven oil reserves are near depletion, it is imperative that we look towards alternative sources of energy such as solar, wind, biofuels and hydrogen. America has always been at the forefront of scientific breakthroughs and it is time that we put our young minds to work. New Rochelle can become a leader in this regard by attracting businesses that develop green technology which would be a much needed source of additional revenue. We need a system in place that will allow us to put idle ideas into a wide-ranging plan.
This new beginning that I refer to is not going to be easy, but I believe that New Rochelle can set the stage and be an example for the rest of the world. It is going to take hard work, a lot of dedication, and a concerted effort of devoted individuals looking forward to a better tomorrow. It is going to take me, it is going to take you, and it is going to take us. To sum this up, I would like to use one of my favorite catch phrases, let’s go!
I would like to wish everyone a healthy and prosperous 2011.
God bless America and God bless New Rochelle. Thank you.
More Photos from the event:
NOTE: We will link the video when made available.