Nov. 22, 2018 Staff Report
Jose Peralta, who has represented Jackson Heights and surrounding neighborhoods in Albany since 2003, died suddenly Wednesday night. He was 47.
Tributes in honor of Peralta have poured in since.
“Tragic news about @SenatorPeralta,” State Sen, Mike Gianaris posted on Twitter. “My heart goes out to his family. Rest In Peace.”
“I am heartbroken and shaken over the tragic news of Senator Jose Peralta’s untimely death,” Council Member Francisco Moya said in a statement. “Jose was a kind man and a friend. Most importantly, he was a terrific husband and an amazing father.”
Peralta, who represented the 39th Assembly District from 2003 to 2010 before being elected to the state senate, was in his final weeks on the job. He was defeated in a tough primary in September by Jessica Ramos, who went on to win the senate seat in November.
Mayor Bill de Blasio was among the many who paid his respects to Peralta. “Jose Peralta was a proud son of Queens and the Dominican Republic. He worked his way up from the grassroots, with heart and tenacity. Our prayers are with his wife Evelyn and his sons.”
Peralta grew up in Washington Heights but moved to Queens with his family when he was a young boy.
Peralta was the first Dominican-American elected to the state senate when he succeeded Hiram Monserrate in a March 2010 special election to represent the 13th District. The 13th State Senate District covers parts or all of Corona, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights and Woodside.
Peralta became a controversial figure after he joined a break away group of Democratic state senators—known as the Independent Democratic Conference–in 2017. The group, which later dissolved, aligned itself with Republicans.
Peralta said that his IDC affiliation provided him with the ability to bring more resources to the district. He said he remained true to his progressive beliefs.
“José Peralta is gone too soon,” Senator-elect Ramos posted on Facebook. “He was a true public servant. Strength & love to his wife, sons, and loved ones.”