New Monroe County legislator Leslie Rivera laughs with Jeffrey R. Adair, president of the legislature, after he joked about giving each legislator a spare lapel pin because another legislator had lost his. Rivera was sworn in by Adair to represent the 29th district Jan. 14 at the Monroe County Office Building. New Monroe County legislator Leslie Rivera laughs with Jeffrey R. Adair, president of the legislature, after he joked about giving each legislator a spare lapel pin because another legislator had lost his. Rivera was sworn in by Adair to represent the 29th district Jan. 14 at the Monroe County Office Building.

First Latina sworn in as Monroe County legislator

ROCHESTER — A Puerto Rico native is the first Latina to serve on the Monroe County Legislature.

Prior to the Jan. 14 legislative meeting, Leslie Rivera and three others were sworn in by Jeffrey Adair, the legislature’s president.

Rivera’s appointment fills the 29th District seat that was left vacant by Michael Patterson, who was appointed to City Council last month. He replaces the spot left upon by newly elected Mayor Lovely Warren. New York Assemblyman Joseph Morelle Sr. had submitted a letter of recommendation to Adair for Rivera’s appointment.

Both Rivera and Patterson will run for re-election this fall to keep their seats, according to election officials.

Rivera earned a bachelor’s degree in education from SUNY Geneseo and a master’s in education from SUNY Brockport. She currently teaches at Dr. Martin Luther King School No. 9.

Following her appointment, Rivera said that she chose to throw her hat into the ring for the position because she wanted to do more outside of her classroom.

"There’s only so much you can do within those four walls," she said. "It’s important to step out and serve the community in a different way."

Boosting Latinos’ representation in government also is part of the agenda for La Cumbre, a recently created Latino advocacy group, said City Councilwoman Jackie Ortiz.

"I’m proud that in a few short months after meeting and outlining our goals, we’ve already accomplished a significant milestone," she said. "But there is much more work to be done."

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