State Senator Michael Gianaris spent time in the Assembly in a district set apart from Sunnyside. But he said that when he was elected to his current office, McDonald played a part in familiarizing him with the community.
“[Gert] would never hesitate to grab me and tell me what she thought I was doing right, and more importantly what she thought I was doing wrong,” Gianaris said. “That was the role Gert played in my life: a mentor for this neighborhood. But now that I’ve had the privilege of representing it for almost a decade, I think I know it well enough. But I could’t have gotten there and represented Sunnyside as well as I have without the mentorship of someone like Gert.”