Peralta died unexpectedly last Wednesday night, right before Thanksgiving. He was just 47 years old.
Despite his recent loss to Jessica Ramos, Peralta served in public office for 16 years, including eight as the first Dominican-American ever elected to the State Senate.
He was a champion for immigrants, workers and young people. He was the prime sponsor of the New York State Dream Act for years. Sadly, he never saw it become a reality.
Coming from a labor background, Peralta strongly supported unions and the right to organize. He also sponsored Carlos’ Law, which aims to protect construction workers from employers who fail to comply with safety protocols.
Peralta prioritized local schools and community organizations that focused on youth. In his last year in office, Peralta allocated large sums of funding to schools to fix auditoriums, replace PA systems or upgrade their technology.
Most importantly, Peralta focused on making his constituents’ lives better. Since 2011, his office handled more than 9,500 constituent cases, dealing with issues on housing, immigration and other quality-of-life problems.
Peralta was a true son of Queens. He graduated from Queens College as a psychology major, and served as president of its Student Association.
He fought constantly for the borough and its residents. He spent countless hours at community and civic meetings, hosting and attending celebrations, and advocating for Queens in Albany.
That is how he should be remembered, as a dedicated public servant who put his community first.
Queens will forever remember State Senator Peralta and all that he has done to leave our city better than he found it.