The new Speaker of the City Council is Melissa Mark-Viverito. I have been saying that would happen in my column "100 PERCENT" that appears in the Bronx News and Parkchester News for the past month. This unanimous victory was not an easy one for Speaker Mark-Viverito however, and winners and losers will come out of this council selection for their new speaker.
It was a fight to the end almost with not only with the new speaker, but new Mayor Bill de Blasio calling in all the favors and making promises if council members voted for Mark-Viverito. It is not known yet if there was any deal between the two candidates for speaker, but Councilman Dan Garodnick was very humble when it came for him to speak after Councilwoman Mark-Viverito was nominated by Councilman Ritchie Torres (15th District, Bronx), and seconded by several other council members.
Garodnick said that he had started his campaign to be the new speaker a year ago, believing that he could offer the Progressive and Independent leadership in the council. He went on to say in the spirit of strengthening the council to bring it together that he would be withdrawing his candidacy for speaker, and then congratulated the new speaker Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito. A role call vote of the council was then taken where one could hear in the different tones of the council members how they cast their vote for the new speaker which side they had been on. After the last council member was polled the vote was unanimous 51 - 0 for Melissa Mark-Viverito as the new Speaker of the City Council.
As for the winners and losers both new Speaker Mark-Viverito and Mayor de Blasio have to head the list. From the Bronx Councilman Ritchie Torres comes next. It could be that Bronx council members Andrew Cohen and Andy King have become winners since there was only one candidate to vote for, as both had loyalties to the Bronx Democratic County organization and to Mayor de Blasio. The losers have to start with both the Bronx and Queens Democratic County leaders who were against Melissa Mark-Viverito to the end. Bronx Councilwoman Carmen Maria Arroyo, and several other Dan Garodnick supporters have to be included. As for how the council moves forward, only time will tell.
Below are just some of the comments coming in about the new speaker.
STATEMENT FROM BOROUGH PRESIDENT DIAZ
“I offer my congratulations today on this historic occasion to my colleague in government, City Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito, on her election to the position of City Council Speaker. Speaker Mark-Viverito has been a strong advocate for the people of the entire City, and has a well-deserved reputation as a tireless fighter for causes that are important to The Bronx.“I know that Speaker Mark-Viverito will make our City proud, and I look forward to working closely with her, and our borough’s City Council delegation, on moving forward our shared vision for the ‘New Bronx,’” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
Statement From Councilman Ritchie Torres
Ritchie Torres, the Bronx Council Member from District 15 who first nominated Melissa Mark-Viverito earlier today for Speaker and was an early and strong supporter of her Speaker candidacy as a leader in the progressive bloc, released the following statement this afternoon:
“As a Puerto Rican, as a gay man, as a Bronx resident, and as a New Yorker who grew up poor and in public housing, I could not be more proud of the path-breaking step our City Council has taken by electing Melissa-Mark Viverito the first Latina Speaker in our city's history. What happened today in the City Council is simply overwhelming on every level and inspiring in every way.
“I am humbled that I had the privilege of nominating Melissa for Speaker today, and I am thrilled to have been a vocal and visible supporter of her Speaker candidacy. Melissa has been an extraordinary mentor and friend to me.
“We will move forward now as one City Council, united in the belief and in the conviction that equality and justice are not abstract ideals but the priorities and principles that will govern everything we do—every decision we make, and every piece of legislation we introduce and pass to make this city a better place to live, work, raise a family, and pursue the biggest dreams for the future.
“In this new City Council, we will work together to improve our city and recreate it as a more equal and more just place. The most vulnerable in the five boroughs, all those who have been overlooked and forgotten in the past, will now have a voice, a champion, and a leader in Melissa and in the City Council.
“At a time of rising poverty and inequality, we will stand up for the rights and needs of low-income New Yorkers who are struggling to survive. We will fight hard to create more living wage jobs, to expand paid sick leave, to build truly affordable housing, to fix NYCHA, and to ensure that our global city of immigrants never turns its back on our undocumented brothers and sisters.”
STATEMENT FROM COUNCIL MEMBER KING
“Congratulations to Melissa Mark-Viverito for being elected our City Council Speaker.
I'm looking forward to working with our new Speaker and our new Mayor in moving
New York City forward,” said Council Member Andy King, 12th District, Bronx.
Statement From Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez
"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. 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."
STATE SENATOR GUSTAVO RIVERA
"I am immensely pleased to congratulate Melissa Mark-Viverito on being elected Speaker of the New York City Council. Her election as the first Latina to hold a city-wide office is historic and inspiring for all New Yorkers," said State Senator Gustavo Rivera. "I am confident that her intelligence, strong personality, ability to lead and her passion to make our City a better place for all New Yorkers will drive her to do a great job as Speaker of the City Council."