(Update) Melissa Mark-Viverito elected New York City Council Speaker

Mark_Viverito2
Melissa Mark-Viverito is the first Latina City Council Speaker. Credit: William Alatriste

Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito was elected the next City Council Speaker in a unanimous vote Wednesday.

Mark-Viverito, who represents parts of Harlem and the Bronx, is the first Latina to hold citywide public office.

“We unite 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,” she said of the council after the vote.

The new speaker is known as an advocate against inequality and endorsed Mayor Bill de Blasio early in his campaign.

After de Blasio called several members explaining his preference for her in December, Mark-Viverito announced she had support from 30 members, a clear majority.

Still, East Side Councilman Dan Garodnick remained in the running, but failed to sway enough members.

Garodnick hugged Mark-Viverito and said “congratulations” on the Council Chambers floor ahead of the vote.

After she was formally nominated, Garodnick said he would work to repair any “rifts” that arose between members because of the race.

“In the spirit of strengthening the council that animated my candidacy from the start, I want to formally concede to the next speaker of the City Council,” he said, followed by a long standing ovation.

As he and 49 other members said her name during the roll-call vote, with breaks for hugs, applause and heaps of praise, Mark-Viverito wiped away some tears but held a constant smile.

Though members hailed the vote as a demonstration of unity, Mark-Viverito faced some push back after  making appointments to the rules committee (formally known as the Committee on Rules, Privileges and Elections) immediately following the vote.

Garodnick said her list didn’t include “a broader coalition of members of the council” before voting in favor of the nominations. Mark-Viverito later said she would address such concerns.

The new speaker is also facing pressure for her relationship with de Blasio.

Before his concession, Garodnick suggested that the mayor’s support for Mark-Viverito in the race could threaten the City Council’s independence. The new speaker disagreed.

“If [members] differ with the mayor on a particular matter, then we do that in a respectful way  and obviously safeguarding the independence and the integrity of this institution,” she said in a press conference following the vote.

At least one dispute is in the future. De Blasio is against member items — some $50 million in discretionary funds dolled out to districts by the council speaker — while Mark-Viverito supports them.

Follow Anna Sanders on Twitter @AnnaESanders


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Mayor reveals new tech hub Digital.NYC

Mayor Bill de Blasio revealed Digital.NYC on Wednesday, a new online platform aimed at connecting all things tech in New York City. The public-private partnership…

Local

Falling debris hits two men in Times Square

Two men were taken to the hospital Wednesday morning after being hit by falling debris from 110 feet above Times Square. Nancy Greco from the…

Local

Queens Assemblyman William Scarborough accused of misusing campaign…

Queens Assemblyman William Scarborough has been indicted on state and federal charges for allegedly withdrawing campaign funds as cash for personal use. Scarborough, a Democrat…

News

U.S. Secret Service director Pierson resigns under fire

U.S. Secret Service Director Julia Pierson resigned under fire on Wednesday after a series of security lapses came to light.

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, Oct. 1: 'Criminal Minds,'…

The "Criminal Minds" team adds some supernatural assistance, as the "Ghost Whisperer" herself, Jennifer Love Hewitt, joins the show. She's playing an FBI agent, but you never know when someone…

Music

See the most popular Pandora station in your…

Who knew Bachata music was so popular?

The Word

The Word: Twilight just won't die

You thought our "Twilight" days were behind us, didn't you? Well think again. Series creator Stephenie Meyer (who would rather you not ask about "Twilight"…

Going Out

Which NYC restaurant lost its three-star Michelin rating?

A record 73 restaurants in New York City collected coveted Michelin stars on Tuesday as a mix of trendy spots and fine-dining stalwarts underscored the…

NFL

Rex Ryan fields more questions about Geno Smith,…

The idea Geno Smith will be replaced by backup Michael Vick appears to be all smoke, as the Jets are intent to ride with their second-round draft pick.

NFL

Will Beatty playing like franchise left tackle again…

Left tackle Will Beatty, who is the elder-statesman of Giants’ line, has turned around his season and become a consistent force on Manning’s blindside.

NFL

John Conner back with Jets for second stint

He'll be back. It's "Terminator 2" for the Jets, who brought back John Conner to the team on Tuesday after placing fullback Tommy Bohanon on…

NFL

Fantasy football: Ben Tate to break out, Larry…

Fantasy football: Ben Tate to break out, Larry Donnell will stay solid

Career

Creating a support system for minority women in…

When Kathryn Finney founded digitalundivided — an organization devoted to engaging minority communities with the tech world — she didn’t know quite what to expect.…

Sex

We can learn a lot from animals about…

There’s a lot we can learn about love from the birds and the bees — and the chickens, monkeys and squirrels that we share the…

Style

Saint Laurent

Our review of the Saint Laurent Spring '15 show at Paris Fashion Week.

Style

Céline: Paris Fashion Week Spring 2015

Our review of the Celine Spring '15 show during Paris Fashion Week.