Democratic officials across Long Island and New York reflected on the one-year anniversary of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove), who was in the House Gallery at the time of the violent attacks and invasion of the building, said the events that day were “an attack on our Democracy.”
“A mob stormed the Capitol, broke down doors, made death threats, and for a time being – put our Democracy on pause,” Suozzi said in a statement. “But their efforts were unsuccessful – the Capitol Police and our collective value for the rule of law stopped the insurrectionists and allowed the Congress to certify Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States.”
During the insurrection, Suozzi detailed his firsthand reactions through Twitter. While the Capitol invasion was occurring, Suozzi held a news conference from an undisclosed location. As they were in the gallery, Suozzi said he and his staff were among the last people to evacuate, and they heard a “pop-pop-pop” noise as they tried to decide how to exit the House chamber. He clarified that he did not know if the noises were gunshots or tear gas.
“As I left the chambers, I saw several protesters on the floor surrounded by Capitol police,” he said during the call. “We went downstairs, through some of the labyrinths of the Capitol complex.”
From where he was, he said he could see representatives and staffers huddled in corners, attempting to call their families or others. He later tweeted a video once representatives began returning to their chambers.
U.S. Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City) was also present at the Capitol during the insurrection but told the public via Twitter that she and her staff were unharmed. One year later, Rice expressed her gratitude to the law enforcement officers who helped stop the invasion, touting the need to find out the forces behind it.
“Today we thank the US Capitol Police, DC Metro Police, & other law enforcement officers who protect us every day,” Rice said in a statement. “I hope all 147 of my colleagues who voted to overturn the results are able to reflect on how their decision put those officers in jeopardy. We also thank the bipartisan Jan. 6 Committee for its work to find out who instigated the attack, who failed to stop it, & who continues to cover it up. We owe it to the American people to find out which of their elected leaders is trying to subvert our democracy.”
Suozzi and state Sen. Anna Kaplan (D-North Hills) stressed the importance of having American citizens remember the attack on the nation’s democracy and to have free and fair elections.
“Those of us who believe in American freedom owe it to future generations to do everything in our power to strengthen and protect our democratic values from cowardly bullies and thugs who seek to dismantle our proud traditions and our way of life in this country,” Kaplan said in a statement. “And those of us who love this country must always remember the lessons of January 6th, and never again let our freedoms come under attack through violence or anti-democratic legislation.”
Last week, state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli referred to the Capitol insurrection as one of the reasons greater transparency is needed about large corporations and their donations to fund political agendas. DiNapoli’s office reached an agreement with the maker of Hanes and Champion apparel and footwear for the company to disclose its political spending as part of efforts to increase transparency.
“The increased polarization of our political discourse and the January 6 attack on the Capitol show just how risky it can be for companies to fund political agendas,” DiNapoli said in a statement. “In the current climate, with our democracy itself under attack, corporations have to question whether any spending on political causes is in shareholders’ interests. I commend Hanesbrands for taking this step toward transparency.”