Jose Peralta

State Sen. Jose Peralta dies

State Sen. Jose Peralta of Queens, who lost his reelection bid, died on Wednesday.

Jose Peralta

Jose Peralta Courtesy the New York Senate

State Sen. Jose Peralta died on Wednesday night, according to the New York Post and other reports.

The Democrat was pronounced dead at 8 p.m. at Elmhurst Hospital Center in Queens, according to the Daily Mail, and his family was with him at the time.

Although initial reports had suggested that the cause was a heart attack, a staff member told The New York Times that the cause of death had not been determined.

The 47-year-old Queens lawmaker had lost his bid for reelection in the Democratic primary in September. He had drawn sharp opposition after he joined the Independent Democratic Conference, the controversial breakaway group that had allied with Republicans in Albany, and the move appeared to take a toll at the polls even though the group was dissolved earlier in the year.

Peralta was first elected to the state Senate in a special election in 2010, becoming the first Dominican-American in the chamber. Peralta, whose district included Jackson Heights, Corona, Elmhurst, East Elmhurst and parts of Woodside and Astoria, also served in the Assembly from 2002 to 2010. 

He had been a longtime proponent of the state DREAM Act, a measure that would allow undocumented immigrants to qualify for state-funded financial aid for college. The measure, long stalled in the state Senate, may have a chance of passing in the 2019 session now that Democrats have won control of the chamber. 

State Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Peralta's successor, state Sen.-elect Jessica Ramos, were among a number of public figures who tweeted their condolences.

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