Tuesday, May 21, 2024

New York Gov. Hochul Appoints New Director of Italian-American Affairs

By Joseph M. Calisi ©2022 All Rights Reserved

Albany, NY, January 30, 2022 –

Thomas Scarangello. Photo Courtesy NY Governor’s Office

Recently, Thomas Scarangello was appointed Director of Italian-American Affairs for the Office of Governor Kathy Hochul after a firestorm 3 months ago.

In early November 2021, New York Governor Kathy Hochul made headlines by following thru on a promise she made after being installed at the state’s top job – clean house of the staff of her preceding Governor Cuomo. In the process, the popular state director for Italian-American Affairs since 2017, Dolores Alfieri, was booted from the job as the liaison to the Italian American community. The move clearly has infuriated the leadership of the Italian American community.

As written in the NY Post (https://nypost.com/2021/11/16/hochul-pledges-new-italian-american-affairs-director-amid-backlash/) on Nov. 16th, it was disclosed that Gov. Hochul intended to eliminate the Italian-American Affairs office as part of the restructuring of the chief executive’s office.

Democrat Long Island Congressman Tom Suozzi joined the howl with other Italian American leaders of an increasing number of members of the Italian American community and leadership by criticizing Hochul for the firing. He added that the office is important to the Italian American community.

After consulting with those leaders, the Governor’s office said it would not be abolished and a promise to fill the office was made.

Hochul spokesman Avi Small then said on the evening of November 16th, “Governor Hochul has committed to finding the best possible team to lead the state forward, and we have been working to fill the role of Director of Italian American Affairs as part of our constituency team’s efforts to engage with New York’s diverse communities.”

Today, the president and founder of The Italian American Museum located in Manhattan’s Little Italy section of New York City said, “I had the pleasure to speak with  Thomas Scarangello the new Director of Italian American Affairs for New York State who had reached out to me by phone having recently been appointed. He was eager to engage with the Italian American Community as a liaison to the Governor’s office. Of course, I wished him success and told him I would keep him informed as to the progress of the Italian American Museum.

This past week, Mr. Small made this announcement of Mr. Scarangello’s bio to me via email:

Tommy Scarangello has been appointed Director of Italian-American Affairs for the Office of Governor Kathy Hochul, where he serves as Governor Hochul’s liaison to the Italian-American Community, developing and maintaining relationships with various Italian-American leaders, cultural institutions, and organizations throughout New York State. Mr. Scarangello has served as the Staten Island Regional Representative in the New York State Executive Chamber since August 2019. Prior to joining New York State, he worked as the Staten Island Borough Director for Intergovernmental Affairs at the New York City Department of Education.

Mr. Scarangello was born and raised on Staten Island, which has the largest concentration of Italian-Americans in New York State. He has participated in the Columbus Day Parade for many years including as a member of his High School marching band. Mr. Scarangello also worked for several Italian-American legislators, including James Oddo and Andrew Lanza.

During his junior year of college, he studied abroad in Rome for 6 months, where he lived in the Prati district. Mr. Scarangello’s grandparents emigrated to the United States from Bari, Italy in 1914 and started a coal and ice business on Staten Island. The Scarangello’s have done various philanthropic work for many years, including on behalf of Casa Belvedere, The Italian Cultural Center. Mr. Scarangello holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities and currently lives in the New Dorp neighborhood of Staten Island.

Joseph Calisi
Joseph Calisihttps://josephmcalisiphotography.com/
International Transportation Photojournalist and Syndicator of News Stories and Images Since 1993 TV credits include Telly Award finalist (11-minute documentary on the last days of mainline steam trains in the world in China) and NY Emmy Award nominee for a news magazine story on the 75th anniversary of NY’s IND subway.

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