New York State Senator José Peralta died of an apparent heart attack late Wednesday night. The 47-year-old Democrat represented the 13th District in Queens and was defeated in a Democratic primary this fall by Jessica Ramos.
Ramos tweeted condolences Thursday morning: “José Peralta is gone too soon. When I met him in 2003 I saw a world of promise for our community & though years later we’d disagree on tackling the issues, I know in his heart he loved his community. He was a true public servant. Strength & love to his wife, sons, and loved ones."
Peralta was elected in March 2010, the first Dominican-American elected to the State Senate.
More reaction has been coming in. Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said:
"We are saddened by the sudden passing of Senator Jose Peralta. Jose, who began his legislative career in the People’s House, was a strong voice for working families. He was determined to strengthen New York’s public schools and gun safety measures, and fight for rights for immigrants. Even after losing his primary election last September, his constituents remained his top priority. Just days ago, Jose was coordinating a flu shot clinic in his district and distributing turkeys for those in need this Thanksgiving.
He was a friend and a true public servant. On behalf of his New York State Assembly family, I offer our deepest condolences to his family, friends and constituents."
Governor Andrew Cuomo:
"I am deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Senator Jose Peralta. Senator Peralta was a dedicated public servant, a relentless advocate for Queens and a pioneer as the first Dominican-American elected to the New York State Senate. As a Member of the Assembly for eight years and then as Senator, he fought tirelessly to make a difference for others, and he will always be remembered for his service to Queens and to all New Yorkers. This is a reminder of how precious life is — hold your families a little bit closer today as we think about all we are thankful for.
"On behalf of the entire family of New York, my thoughts and prayers are with Senator Peralta and his family, including his wife, Evelyn, and two sons."
Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan:
"My thoughts and prayers go out to the friends, family, and colleagues of Senator Jose Peralta, whose sudden and unexpected passing is a shock to us all. Senator Peralta was a passionate advocate for the issues he believed in and fought for, and was a dedicated public servant for his beloved Queens. On behalf of the entire state Senate, we send our condolences to all those who knew and loved Senator Peralta. I’ve said many times that the Senate is a family, and a member of our family has been taken far too young. RIP, Senator Jose Peralta."