Melissa Mark-Viverito Is First Latina Speaker Of NY City Council
Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito
Melissa Mark-Viverito today became the first Latina elected Speaker of the New York City Council, a post regarded as second to only the mayor's.
She was elected unanimously by the 51-member Council after her rival decided to back her when he realized he didn't have enough votes. She succeeds Christine Quinn, whose campaign for mayor faded late last year.
In addition to moving bills in the Council, Mark-Viverito also determines the Council Members that get to head the most powerful committees. Her bid for Speaker was backed by new mayor, Bill de Blasio.
The messages of congratulations came from around the City and the State this afternoon.
"We have made history today. We elected the first Latina speaker in the history of the City Council, but we also elected someone who has strong progressive values, cares for social justice and is unafraid to fight on behalf of all New Yorkers," Ydanis Rodriguez, her colleague in the City Council said.
"Melissa Mark-Viverito has demonstrated exemplary character, leadership and drive during her time as an elected official and will use these traits to take the council to new heights in developing a more inclusive city for our most vulnerable citizens. I am overjoyed at her election to this position and am confident NYC will see expansions in our middle class, strong oversight of city agencies and balanced and on time budgets that put the neediest first."
The New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said: “I congratulate and look forward to working with Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who will be an outstanding leader of the New York City Council in its mission to break down barriers to social and economic justice. I know that Melissa, as Council Speaker, will continue her grassroots activism, fighting to empower all New Yorkers and give a voice to the voiceless. I am confident that together with Mayor De Blasio’s leadership we can build a city where we all rise together. I also want to congratulate Councilman Dan Gardonick, who I know will continue to serve with distinction as a leading voice for progressive public policy."
City Council member Dan Gardonick had also vied for the Speaker post; he had earlier said he had at least 20 votes to support his bid.
He decided to support his opponent at the last minute. He represents the 4th District: the Upper East Side, Central Park South, Grand Central, Tudor City, Waterside, Peter Cooper Village, Carnegie Hill, Stuyvesant Town, United Nations; and part of Yorkville, Turtle Bay.
Melissa Mark-Viverito represents the Council's 8th District, which includes Spanish Harlem/El Barrio/East Harlem, the northernmost part of the Upper East Side, Manhattan Valley and part of the Upper West Side as well as part of Mott Haven in the Bronx; the district also includes Randalls and Wards Islands and Central Park.