By Robert Press
Looking Ahead to 2018
As of tomorrow January 1st, Melissa Mark-Viverito will no longer be the speaker of the City Council, and she will no longer be a member of the City Council. There will be a new speaker chosen from the members which were elected in the 2017 general election. As of the end of 2017 the new Speaker of the City Council should be Councilman Corey Johnson of Manhattan. Speaker Johnson will owe his new post to the Queens and Bronx Democratic County Leaders, Congressman Joe Crowley of Queens, and Assemblyman Marcos Crespo of the Bronx. So what will the Bronx and Queens be rewarded with?
I for one look to see a major council committee such as the Land Use Committee going to current Bronx Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson. I also look for a plum committee for Councilman Rafael Salamanca. New Councilman Ruben Diaz Sr. could wind up with the Aging Committee, while the rest of the Bronx delegation either keep their current committee chairs or move up a notch or two in the standings. As for the other new Bronx Councilman, there is no reading on where he may wind up yet. One thing is for sure though, his name is Mark Gjonaj not Mark Gjonah, as new Councilman Ruben Diaz Sr. spells it.
As for the two open seats in the Bronx now, the 32rd State Senate District and the 80th Assembly District, it will be a game of waiting for a special election to be called or not. Odds are since there another local vacant State Senate seat (Westchester County) of which both were in Democratic control there are those who think a special election will be called by the governor. However there is always the chance of the vacant Westchester County State Senate seat going Republican, and that is why I do not think a special election being called.
87th A.D. Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda had already announced that he would be running for the vacant 32nd State Senate seat before it even became vacant. Sepulveda even did away with his main competition that he would of had in the election to fill the vacant seat by getting former (as of January first) Councilwoman Annabel Palma a position in the de Blasio administration as a Deputy Commissioner of Homeless Services. Now with a clear path to the 32nd State Senate Seat, and the only thing that can stop Assemblyman Sepulveda is if no special election is called. That would mean that Speulveda would have to decide if he was to keep his assembly seat or run for the state senate in the September primary. Then again Sepulveda could call his friend Mayor Bill de Blasio to see if the mayor could convince Governor Cuomo to call a special election.
As for the 80th Assembly District, there are several local players jockeying for positions. If the former Chief of Staff to former Assemblyman Gjonaj currently working as the Bronx liaison to Governor Andrew Cuomo, Nathalia Fernandez runs that race should be over before it starts.
All of the above may happen even before the mid-term Congressional election, and September Bronx Democratic Primary which is the real election here in the Bronx.
Surprises to look for in the upcoming election season - A possible challenge to Congressman Jose Serrano. After all the Democratic County Leader of Queens is a Congressman not a State Assemblyman.
- The possible retirement of a long time Bronx assemblyman, and the possible fight for his seat in the East Bronx.
- The coming up of a North West Bronx District Leader.
- Lastly, has there been peace made with a certain State Senator, and it is not the one you are thinking of.
This column was written on December 31, 2017. If you have any comments about this column you can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Mr. Robert Press.
Happy New Year, it's going to be a fun political year.