Today is a historical day in New York City with the election of East Harlem councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito as the new Speaker of the New York City council. Selected to replace Christine Quinn as speaker, Mark-Viverito will become the first Latina and person of color ever elected for the position.
“This is a historic moment,” said Councilman Ritchie Torres (D-Bronx), Torres nominated Mark-Viverito for the position stating she is, “someone who has never hesitated to speak truth to power.”
Elected after a unanimous vote, and after her opponent Daniel Garodnick conceded, Mark-Viverito received a standing ovation before giving her acceptance speech in Spanish and English detailing her progressive agenda.
Although many of her supporters expected Mark-Viverito to win the nomination there was some tense moments of suspense as council-members decided who to give their vote to.
Before Councilmembers Ritchie Torres, Inez Barron, Daniel Dromm, Robert Cornegy, Julissa Ferreras gave their vote there was a roadblock in declaring the victor between Mark-Viverito and her opponent Garodnick.
The stand-off was long even after last month when Mark-Viverito announced she had the majority support for the position after Garodnick continued to push on his candidacy to receive the vote.
Despite his efforts to become the Speaker, Garodnick eventually yielded realizing he did not have the votes that Mark-Viverito held. A half-hour after the vote was announced Garodnick arrived at City Hall and gave a hug to his former rival and victor.
“In the spirit of strengthening the Council, which animated my candidacy from the start, I want to formally concede to the next speaker of the City Council, my colleague, Melissa Mark-Viverito,” said Garodnick, congratulating Mark-Viverito on her historic win.
“I am very honored and truly humbled by this day,” said the new Speaker Mark-Viverito, in her acceptance speech she vowed to press for “a more equal and just New York where everyone, no matter what borough you are from, what neighborhood you were raised in or who your parents were, has equal opportunities.”
Known as both a true liberal and ally of Mayor de Blasio, Mark-Viverito received support from the Mayor who urged the council-members to choose wisely in their voting of a new Speaker knowing that Mark-Viverito would fit just right as the Speaker of the New York City council.