NEW YORK – The Rotary Club of New York celebrated Greek Independence Day at a luncheon on March 16 at 12 pm at the Union League Club, 38 East 37th Street in Manhattan. The featured speaker was New York State Senator Michael Giannaris, who was introduced by Harry Pateroulakis- Rotary Club of New York Board Member. Both the Greek National Anthem and the Star-Spangled Banner were sung at the event. Among those in attendance were Dr. Jasmin Bey Corwin- Rotary Club of New York President 2017-2018 who gave the welcoming remarks, Consul General of Greece in New York Konstantinos Koutras who spoke about the role of American philhellenes in the War of Greek Independence, and Greta Kamaterou- Director Greek National Tourism Organization.
Senator Gianaris thanked all those in attendance, especially Mr. Pateroulakis who asked him to speak about anything Greek, which is a massive topic, adding that just the contributions of the ancient Greeks could take hours.
The first Greek-American to be elected to office from New York City, Senator Gianaris has served his community and state with unique effectiveness. He was born in Astoria, Queens and is a graduate of the New York City public school system, having attended Public School 84, Junior High School 141 and Long Island City High School. He then attended Fordham University, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelors Degree in Economics and Political Science and went on to receive his law degree from Harvard Law School.
Senator Gianaris was elected to the State Senate in 2010 with over 81% of the vote after a decade of dedicated public service in the State Assembly. His career in public service began as an aid to Congressman Thomas Manton, and he later became Governor Mario Cuomo’s Queens County Regional Representative. Until his election to the Assembly in 2000, he served as a Counsel to the Speaker of the Assembly. He also practiced law as a litigator in private practice for several years. In his community, Senator Gianaris served as a member of Community Board # 1, Legal Counsel to the United Community Civic Association and as a Board member of the Eastern Orthodox Lawyers Association.
Among his many triumphs in the Legislature, Senator Gianaris authored important public safety measures, including the state’s first major anti-terror law after the September 11th attacks. His Energy Security Act, which has become a national model, strengthens security at New York’s power plants and transmission centers. He is a staunch advocate for consumers, authoring the first-in-the-nation Airline Passenger Bill of Rights law which inspired federal rules that now ensure travelers are treated with respect and dignity while on commercial airplanes. He was instrumental in establishing the state’s film tax credit, which has brought thousands of new jobs to western Queens.