State Senator George Latimer receives the award for “Distinguished Legislator of the Year” from the New York State Conference of Italian American State Legislators at their annual dinner in Albany.
State Senator George Latimer receives the award for “Distinguished Legislator of the Year” from the New York State Conference of Italian American State Legislators at their annual dinner in Albany.
State Senator George Latimer was recently honored as the New York State Conference of Italian American State Legislators "Distinguished Legislator of the Year" at the organization's annual dinner in Albany.

Senator Latimer has been working to urge the U. S. Interior Department to recognize the work of Luigi Del Bianco, a longtime Port Chester resident and chief carver of Mt. Rushmore. Unfortunately, Del Bianco was never recognized by the Interior Department for his work, likely due to his status as an Italian immigrant.

"Luigi Del Bianco immigrated from Italy, as did my great-grandfather before him, to find a better life in America. Their values of hard work, faith and family were the bedrock that built not only Mt. Rushmore, but built this nation during the 20th century," Latimer said. "That heritage is a part of me to this day, and honoring Luigi Del Bianco for his accomplishments is to honor the contributions made by all Italian Americans and immigrants from other lands to whom we owe a debt of gratitude."

"The New York Conference of Italian American State Legislators is pleased to have recognized our colleague Senator George Latimer at our annual Festa celebration," Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, Conference president, said. "George is an outstanding public servant and a proud Italian American on his mother's side."

Latimer gets his Italian roots from his mother Loretta's side of the family. She grew up in Harrison and was a parishioner of St. Gregory's before moving to Mt. Vernon and raising two children. Many of the values Latimer's parents instilled in him are present in his work as a public official and were influential in the reasons the group honored him. The New York Conference

of Italian American State Legislators is a bipartisan group of members of the Senate and the Assembly who are of Italian descent. Every year the Conference honors one Senator and one Assembly member. This year Assemblyman Andy Raia of Long Island was honored with Latimer.

On June 17 Latimer spoke in front of the State Senate about a resolution he introduced asking for Del Bianco to get the recognition he deserves. The Senator said he felt Del Bianco didn't get it because he was an Italian American and there was prejudice against Italian immigrants in the 1920s and 30s.