ALBANY, NY – Ahepans from all corners of New Your State joined Empire District 6 Governor, Tom Dushas in Albany to meet and greet the six Americans of Greek descent that have been elected to the New York State legislature, which many consider an extraordinary achievement for the community.
An AHEPA press release called it “a joyous pilgrimage to the state capital to congratulate the legislators for their significant contributions in sponsoring and passing the Religious Freedom Initiative, supporting the religious freedom of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. This support is only one aspect of the multi-faceted initiative begun in 2006 by the National Council of the Ancient Order of Saint Andrew to enlist support for religious freedom in all 50-state legislatures.”
Coordinate by District Secretary, Stafan Kalagridis and AHEPA friend and lobbyist Todd Vanderhoot, the delegation was able to meet with all six legislators beginning with Senator Michael Gianaris, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas, Assemblyman Frank Skartados, Assemblyman James Skoufis and Senator Dean Skelos.
In addition to presenting the congratulatory plaque, Governor Dushas explained the role and mission of the AHEPA Family in general, with a specific emphasis on AHEPA Housing. Dennis Keriazides spoke about the 92 buildings, with approximately 50 units each, in 22 states that have been completed under AHEPA Housing’s initiative.
Keriazides focused on the three units already constructed in New York at Syracuse, Webster, and Cheektowaga. Given such a specific agenda, Todd and Stefan were able to set up meetings with the Executive Director of the Chairman of Housing, Construction, and Community Development, as well as with Dan Buyer, the Assistant Commissioner of Housing and Community Renewal and his staff. All parties were pleased with AHEPA and AHEPA’s Housing contributions and future role in developing additional elderly and low income housing.
The final meeting, the highlight of the day, featured the presentation of a plaque to Senator Dean Skelos in the Senate Executive Conference Room.