Adriano Espaillat made history when he was sworn into Congress Tuesday as the new representative for New York’s 13th Congressional District — which spans parts of Harlem, Washington Heights, Inwood and the Bronx. Espaillat will be the first Dominican-American and first formerly undocumented immigrant to serve in the House of Representatives.
It was a historic moment that was not lost on the Washington Heights community that supported Espaillat’s political career as a State Assemblyman and State Senator and helped him defeat Keith Wright in a close race for the 13th Congressional District this year. Hundreds of Espaillat’s supporters packed the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center Auditorium to show their support as Espaillat took the oath of office.
“I would like to express my deepest appreciation to the hundreds of neighbors, friends, relatives and supporters who attended my swearing-in ceremony on Tuesday, January 3, to become a member of the United States House of Representatives,” Espaillat said in a statement. “I am especially grateful to my family, members of the press and all of the residents from New York’s 13th Congressional District who made it possible for me to come to Washington. This is a triumph for us all and I am deeply grateful!”
See the moment Espaillat takes the oath of office in the video below:
The turnout for Espaillat’s ceremony impressed longtime member of Congress and former speaker of the house Nancy Pelosi, who said there was “record interest” to see Espaillat’s swearing in.
The record interest in Congressman Espaillat’s swearing-in ceremony is a powerful testimony to the respect he commands and the excitement there is for the values and qualities he will bring to the Congress,” Pelosi said.
Espaillat is will assume the seat in Congress vacated by Charles Rangel, who was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1971. After losing to Rangel in two straight elections, Espaillat defeated Rangel’s chosen successor Keith Wright this year to win a seat in Congress. Espaillat’s victory in the 13th District was analyzed by many as a transfer of power from the longstanding African-American political leadership of Harlem to the Dominican-American political leadership of Washington Heights.