STATE SENATOR JOSÉ R. PERALTA WAY
Queens, New York, Sunday, October 6, 2019, The Co-naming of 79th Street between 37th Avenue and 35th Avenue in Jackson Heights, Queens. Dromm passed legislation to name the street “State Senator José R. Peralta Way.”
Jose Peralta (11/10/71 - 11/21/18), a beloved civic leader and elected official who left an indelible mark on the community he served for many years.
Peralta made history by becoming the first Dominican-American elected to the New York Senate when he assumed office in District 13. He served from 2010 until his death in 2018. Peralta's tenure was marked by a focus on immigration justice, support for working-class families, access to quality education for all children and advocacy for LGBT rights. Peralta was most notable as his chamber's leading champion for undocumented young people whom he believed deserved equal opportunity to achieve the American Dream. He introduced the New York State DREAM Act in 2013 and increased its support over the following years. The Act, renamed the José Peralta New York State DREAM Act in the senator’s honor after his untimely death, passed the state legislature and was signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo earlier this year. This law will help ensure the success of young immigrants eager to grasp the American Dream for themselves and give back to our diverse community in which the senator always believed.
Peralta became the first Dominican-American elected to the New York State Senate in March 2010 after winning a special election. He represented the 13th State Senate District, the most diverse district in the United States.
Prior to his election to the Senate, Peralta served in the New York State Assembly from 2002 to 2010. Peralta was a member of the New York Senate Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian caucuses, and of the Puerto Rican Hispanic Task Force. As a state legislator, Peralta advocated for working families and had fought to ensure that a quality public education is available to all. His sponsorship of gun-control legislation and a bill requiring microstamping on bullet-casings drew the ire of the National Rifle Association. Peralta was a champion of economic development and job creation, and was a fighter for immigrants’ rights.
New York political history will remember Peralta as a legislator of principled advocacy and genuine kindness. The Peralta family looks forward to watching his legacy live on through every civic-minded young person inspired to serve their community and fight for a more just America.
Peralta dedicated his life to serving his community, and this co-naming serves as a fitting memorial to his legacy.