Congressman Joseph Crowley and Senator Charles Schumer have both proposed legislation to rename the post office at 39-25 61st Street in Woodside, the “Thomas J. Manton Post Office Building.”
“I think for most of his political career he was very much associated with Woodside and I think this would mean a lot to his family,” Crowley said, speaking to the Echo on Monday.
Crowley, who took over Manton’s seat in congress when he retired, considered the late congressman his mentor.
“It was remarkable the extent of how he reached out and the respect people had for him in the community and in political circles,” Crowley said.
“There was a time when he and I were not on the same side politically,” Crowley continued, referring to a time when Manton ran successfully against Crowley’s uncle for a seat.
“That he was able to incorporate someone into his circle who was not his ally, someone who was seen as an enemy in political terms, is testament to his political genius.”
After working as an NYPD officer and in the Marines, Manton served the Woodside area as a member of the New York City Council from 1970 to 1985.
He was elected to Congress in 1984, where he represented the Seventh Congressional district, comprising parts of Queens and the Bronx, until 1999. After leaving Congress, Manton continued to serve as chairman of the Queens County Democratic party until his death in July, at age 73. Crowley has since succeeded him in that position.
“Throughout his life, Thomas Manton epitomized both patriotism and public service through his remarkable commitment to his community and constituents,” Senator Schumer said in a statement last week.
“He was a cop, a marine veteran, a public servant, a family man and a great neighbor. We owe him our deepest respect and gratitude and it is only fitting that the post office in his beloved Woodside bear his name.”
Manton was revered in the Irish-American community for his efforts to bring peace to Northern Ireland and his attempts to achieve benefits for permanently injured police officers.
“My mother is from Northern Ireland, so obviously it’s an issue I’m very passionate about,” Crowley said.
“He was instrumental in getting the attention of the Clinton Administration. Clinton trusted his instinct.”
The 29 delegates representing New York State have voted unanimously in favor for the legislation, which is expected to go to the floor in both chambers for a vote before Congress adjourns for this season.
“We don’t often agree on everything but on issues like this, there is often a sense of camaraderie,” Crowley said. “In this particular instance, there was a great degree of civility.”