While most members offered praise ahead of Adams’ election, there were two no votes: one from Kristin Richardson Jordan and the other from Charles Barron, a former member of the New York State Assembly. Barron returned to the seat he held from 2002 to 2013, where he was later succeeded by his wife, Inez Barron.
“Governor [Kathy] Hochul, Mayor Adams and soon-to-be Speaker Adams are cut from the same political cloth, you’ll see,” Barron warned, arguing the council needed to serve as a check on the mayor during the budget process and chastising policies like the expected return of the NYPD plainclothes unit that he said delivered devastating, racially biased outcomes to Black and brown communities.
“We don’t want a change in the complexion, we want a change in the direction,” he added, a comment aimed at the history-making moment that was unfolding.
In her remarks, Adams made the case that representation is vital to how the city is governed and pledged to use that diversity to the benefit of her members and New Yorkers.
Adams ultimately secured the speakership with 49 votes. She is expected to name her entire leadership team in the coming days. Those named Thursday include Diana Ayala as deputy speaker, Keith Powers as majority leader, and Brooks-Powers as majority whip.
Republican Council Member Joseph Borelli was elected as the minority leader, who publicly congratulated the new leader.
While much of the gallery in the council chamber was kept empty in light of the current omicron surge, several former council speakers attended the swearing-in, including former Speakers Corey Johnson and Melissa Mark-Viverito. Other dignitaries also in attendance were U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks, head of the Queens County Democrats, City Comptroller Brad Lander, Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright and Queens Borough President Donovan Richards.
Former Speaker Christine Quinn, who joined Adams along with former Speaker Gifford Miller for a Zoom call on Monday, said the incoming speaker came prepared with questions about how she could involve her members in developing the agenda to ensure the council operated as an inclusive and transparent body.
In terms of working with Mayor Adams, Quinn said she thought the city was lucky to have two elected officials with strong opinions about how the city should move forward.
“They are going to find that when they are adversaries, they are both equally formidable,” said Quinn. “And what’s going to happen in those situations is, they may not come to an agreement, but they are two people who want to make the city better so they will agree to disagree and move on.”
Mark-Viverito, who served with Adams, described her as a thoughtful, inclusive leader who would respect her colleagues and would actively engage with them when it came to making decisions.
“I am even more excited to see her lead the first majority women council,” said Mark-Viverito, “I am over the moon, actually.”
(this story/news/article has not been edited by PostX News staff and is published from a syndicated feed)