All good things must come to an end.
For the past several months, We Started Here, an original series by The Elmont Excelsior Inc., has celebrated the achievements of a handful of young adults whose journey toward success began in Elmont.
We asked them to offer insight about their work ethic, hardships & experiences with adversity, sources of inspiration, and finally civic-minded views regarding the Elmont community.
Since October, we have elevated the voices of an entrepreneur, a CEO, a school teacher, an athletic coach, a community organizer, social ambassador, community advocate, event coordinator, a music artist, fashion designer, non-profit professionals and a project manager — who each never forgot where they came from and today are affecting positive change in their world by boldly living out their dreams.
What better way to close out our series highlighting hometown success than to feature a homegrown public servant.
Michaëlle is a resident of the Elmont community, and so not only serves her constituents but her neighbors and family as well. Michaëlle was a student at Dutch Broadway Elementary, where the perennial Walter “Mr. A” Aksionoff has served as the school’s Principal for generations. Even, Enis, the school’s crossing guard stationed there for 22 years, can remember crossing Michaëlle to & from Virginia Avenue and Dutch Broadway when Michaëlle was a little girl.
We reached out to the Assemblywoman to give her a chance to share her views of her community and to hear what she sees to be its assets and strengths and what makes Elmont a really great place to live; and also where the opportunities are for growth and change.
For one last time, we hope you enjoy our interview:
How long you’ve lived in Elmont: I am a lifelong resident of Elmont.
I started my academic career at Dutch Broadway Elementary School. Afterwards, I attended H.Frank Carey Junior-Senior High School. I then went on to earn a Bachelor’s Degree from Hofstra University’s School of Education, Health and Human Services.
How did you know this was the career path that you wanted to take?
I wanted to make a difference in the community that I have lived in for my entire life. My decision to run for office was also motivated, in part, because my neighbors believe that I would make a difference in the “People’s House.” The local businesses and community leaders shared my vision to develop a strong and united neighborhood.
What are you most proud of?
When we pause to reflect on the hurdles placed before Haitian-Americans, it is no small feat that we as a people, have forged our way to the pinnacle of our industries.
I am proud to have made history as the first person of Haitian descent to be elected to the New York State Legislature. As a public servant, I welcome ways to continue to build on the relationships forged within the Haitian-American community.
What inspires you or gives you hope?
To date, representing Elmont and the surrounding communities has been a wonderful and interesting experience. The job of a legislator is always ongoing and there is a lot more work to do in Albany and the district. Everyday my staff and I work to assist those individuals in need of help. I have had the opportunity to deliberate, debate, and advocate.
I am inspired by fostering progress right here in Elmont and the greater Long Island region. It is truly an honor to represent the constituents of the 22nd Assembly District.
What do you believe sets Elmont apart from any other community?
It is said that diversity is the seasoning of existence. Elmont is among the most diverse communities on Long Island. We also have the pleasures of suburban life while being a short ride from the greatest city in the world.
What do you wish there was more of in Elmont?
The backbone of our community is our small businesses. They are the engines that run our communities. One of my top priorities is fighting for New York’s small businesses. New York ranks 49th out of 50 states for business friendliness. Complicated tax codes, fees, and regulations are just some of the problems that small businesses face.
I would like to make Elmont an incubator and a hub for entrepreneurs and business owners.
If you could in one sentence, how would you describe Elmont?
Elmont is Long Island’s hidden gem.
The best advice you’ve ever gotten:
Kirk Douglas once said: “You haven’t learned how to live until you’ve learned how to give.”
Many thanks to this Elmont native, public servant and brand-new mom! Keep your eyes peeled for Michaëlle as she continues to work toward positive change for her family and in her community!
Haven’t yet heard the stories of our other young professionals? Click the link(s) below for an exclusive recap of We Started Here, an original series by The Elmont Excelsior, Inc.