Thank you, Jack, and thank you to all my friends in the room and to Carlo and to Nancy. I am heartbroken that I cannot be with you this afternoon. We have been really working so hard for a budget that meets the needs of all New Yorkers, but I am putting a special emphasis on protecting New Yorkers.
And that is one of the reasons why we are a little bit overdue on the budget timetable. But that being said, I’m going to continue to work hard so we can make sure that everyone in their streets and their homes and the communities and at work feels very safe. And so, we will be making some announcements at the conclusion of that soon.
But I want to thank all of you for just keeping everything going during the pandemic. The services the cultural center provides, and this organization provided, to people in their time of greatest need will never be forgotten. And I also want to thank the Monsignor Cassato for reminding us of the presence of God in our lives.
And it is a humbling thought to know that all of us started together. We started, many of us, the children of immigrants or grandchildren of immigrants. Mine came from great poverty in Ireland, which is why I felt an affinity with the people of the Italian community, because there’s always been historically a lot of disrespect for new immigrants. Whether it was the “Irish need not apply” that my grandfather had to endure or what he saw happening to his friends at the steel plant who were of Italian descent.
This is something that joins us. But also, I mentioned the presence of God, as the Monsignor mentioned. I grew up as a practicing Catholic, knowing that the way I could serve God the most was to go into public service, to help all people, lift up children who need a better outcome in life because of their circumstances and the life they were given.
We all have a moral responsibility to help others, particularly our kids. And that is what your organization does, it gives people hope. And I’m going to continue being there for you as your ally, one of your top supporters. And I’m also going to make sure that we continue to revere the cultural significance of the Italian-American community, especially here in New York.
It’s the largest ethnic population we have. We embrace it. And it is something I’m going to say, I’m so proud that the very first parade I marched in as Governor was the Columbus Day parade just a few months ago. We celebrated with many of you at St. Joseph’s table. And I’m going to continue valuing these great contributions and celebrating them from the position as Governor.
So I look forward to working with all of you. I wanted to make sure that we have our Italian-American center, our museum on Mulberry street, so tourists can come and see the great contributions. We’ve put that over the finish line, I hope, with a million-dollar announcement I made just a few short weeks ago at the breakfast we hosted.
But I also want you to know I’m going to be there for you, not just on the holidays, not just for the parades, but day in and day out, to protect you, help everyone continue to recover from COVID because we are having a little bit of a spike now, so pay attention to that, my friends. But to keep our economy going, keep our neighborhoods strong, and do what we can to elevate all of us, and especially the amazing contributions of the Italian-American community. So, thank you for this honor. I am so humbled. So humbled but I was really looking forward to some really good food with all of you.
I’ve just been drinking power drinks, mostly to get me through the budget process, but I know what I’m missing, not joining all of you for the great celebration of friendship and culture and food, of course. Because I, as I said, I grew up in an Irish family, no one I ever heard saying, let’s go out for Irish tonight, it’s always let’s go out for Italian.
So, enjoy the rest of the celebration. To all the other honorees, my colleagues in government, Senator Gounardes, we were together at the cultural center just a short time ago. And Assemblymembers Abbate and Colton. Of course, Frank Seddio, as you mentioned, the legendary Frank Seddio. And our District Attorney, Brooklyn’s own Eric Gonzalez is doing an amazing job and we’re trying to help him do his job even better. And that’s what we’re doing here in Albany right now.
So, thank you for the privilege of being your woman of the year. And again, I look forward to seeing you all in person as soon as we get this all wrapped up, so thank you, my friends.