Assemb. John Lavelle, 57, S.I. Democratic chairman



January 25, 2007


State Assemb. John Lavelle, who worked relentlessly to secure funding for schools and take illegal handguns off the streets, died yesterday, less than a week after suffering a stroke, state officials said. He was 57.


Lavelle, of Staten Island, collapsed after he gave a speech Thursday to the Young Democrats of Richmond County following the State of the Borough address by borough President James Molinaro. He had been hospitalized at Richmond University Medical Center.


His 58th birthday would have been tomorrow.


Lavelle was the borough Democratic Party chairman and was the former chairman of the liberal Staten Island Democratic Association. In Albany, Lavelle had served in the Democrat-led Assembly since 2001.


State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said that, despite Lavelle's hard-nosed approach to politics, he had a big heart.


"He served his beloved Staten Island community with passion, enthusiasm and dedication. He embodied the true spirit of public service," Silver said in a statement. There will be no Assembly session on Monday out of respect for Lavelle.


Mayor Michael Bloomberg remembered Lavelle for his work ethic.


"Assemblyman John Lavelle was a tireless advocate for the people of Staten Island and all of New York, and we are all saddened by his passing," Bloomberg said in a statement.


Bloomberg pointed to Lavelle's work on legislation to combat illegal handguns after two detectives were killed in his district. "All New Yorkers are safer today because of John's legacy."


Lavelle also made education a top priority in Albany. He worked to secure an additional $600 million for the New York City school district, the largest in the country.


Before being elected to the state Assembly, Lavelle spent more than 20 years on the Community Advisory Board for the Sisters of Charity Health Care System at St. Vincent's Medical Center, his Web site said.


State Democratic Committee head June F. O'Neill and co-chairman David Pollak also expressed condolences.


"John was a tireless worker on behalf of his constituents, a leader in the Democratic Party and a friend and mentor to many," they said in a joint statement. "We mourn his passing." Lavelle is survived by three adult sons, John, Christopher and Danny.


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