Thursday, February 19, 2009

Ceremonial Swearing in of Eric Massa

People came from across the 29th Congressional District to witness the Ceremonial Swearing in Ceremony for Congressman Eric Massa in the courtroom of Judge John Ark . The ceremony was slightly delayed by the crunch at the security check fort the Monroe County Hall of Justice. One of the security guards remarked that he had never seen so many people at security in his years of working there.
Eric Massa issued an open invitation to people to attend the ceremony so several veterans, labor leaders, attorneys and assorted citizens were on hand to welcome Massa as their representative.
After being introduced by the Judge, Senator Schumer suggested that many people should feel joy and a sense of accomplishment over Massa’s win. First on the list was Massa. He spent 24 years in military service after growing up in a military family. He served in Beirut and in Desert Storm and then as assistant to the Supreme Allied Commander, Wesley Clark.
Massa didn't grow up with a silver spoon in his mouth but earned every success. Living and then working in Corning over 20 years, he ran for this congressional seat 2 years ago and lost by a hair. Schumer said that Massa “had the gumption to run again”- this time successfully.
Second Schumer said, this was a great day for the Massa family because a politician’s life does not stay at the office. The home phone rings daily and people constantly demand time and conversation. Eric is a successful person in part because of his family.
Also, he noted, this was a great day for the diverse people of the 29th district who have a smart, capable, open, caring person who will work tirelessly for them. Finally it was a great day for the nation where a government can pass the reins of power peacefully.
Schumer also talked about our republic relating that Ben Franklin was asked what went on in Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. He answered, “We have created a republic, if you can keep it.”
Keeping a republic requires that people take time from their lives, their work, and their families to learn about issues and candidates and to vote. Franklin wasn’t certain that people would give their time for that purpose. Keeping a republic also requires that people put themselves forward for office with a desire to serve the interests of the public above their private interests. Perhaps, feared Franklin, only scoundrels would seek office.
Schumer noted that the room filled with standing room only shows that people are involved and he said, “Look at who we elected. One of our best.”
Judge Ark administered the oath of office, reading it to ensure accuracy. Beverly Massa held the bible and Senator Schumer stood with them. Afterwards, Massa spoke saying, that it was an important ceremony, a binding contract between him and the people he represents. "I could not be more honored or humbled."
He thanked the people present for their support and work on his behalf. He particularly thanked Paul Shanahan and Jim Doyle for earnestly teaching him about the judicial branch of government stating that “we have all been lessened by the assault on our judiciary over the last 8 years.”
Massa said that “Decisions in our government are made by those who show up and last Tuesday 2 ½ million people showed up in Washington.”
He hopes the level of citizen involvement with the government will grow. In order to encourage citizens of the 29th district he intends to activity represent those who voted for him and those who voted against him.
Rochester’s Mayor Duffy thanked Senator Schumer for attending and congratulated Massa calling him a man of honor and character who spoke of issues rather than making personal attacks."He's the real deal. He knows what it is like to be laid off from a job. He knows what it is like to put his life on the line for his country. He has a passion for life and for government and he is entering government at an important time full of great changes."
Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks said, "Politics divides but government brings us together. I have no doubt that Eric will serve the people well. It shows his commitment to service to have regional swearing in ceremonies. Although I am a Republican I respect Eric Massa and share many of his goals."
Congressman Massa took time to speak with most of the people in the room individually at the close of the ceremony.

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