Tuesday, January 03, 2006

NYC Gets First Out City Council Speaker

(Link) Starting Wednesday, Councilwoman Christine Quinn will become New York City's first out lesbian City Council Speaker -- and the first-ever female to hold the job. You go, grrl!

1 comment:

LNewsEditor said...

JIC Post:

New York Newsday

The city will have its first female and openly gay City Council speaker, with enough backers lining up behind Councilwoman Christine Quinn that she's expected to get the nod at Wednesday's official vote.

Quinn (D-Manhattan), edged out her closest rival, Councilman Bill de Blasio (D-Brooklyn), for the influential position. The balance swung in her favor when the powerful Queens delegation, with 13 Democrats, decided to back Quinn.

The council speaker is widely considered the second most visible -- and powerful -- position in city government, as the face of the 51-member City Council and often the most prominent counterpoint to the mayor. Gifford Miller, who lost a primary bid to replace Mayor Michael Bloomberg, left the council due to term limits.

"I am gratified for the support of my colleagues," Quinn said in a statement e-mailed to reporters late Monday afternoon. "I look forward to the vote on Wednesday and to working with them to improve the lives of all New Yorkers."

Quinn, 39, will be the third council speaker and the first woman speaker since the position was created in 1989. A native of Glen Cove, she worked as a housing advocate, and was executive director of the New York City Gay & Lesbian Anti-Violence project and chief of staff for then-Councilman Thomas Duane. She won his seat when he was elected to the state Senate in 1999.

De Blasio released a statement pledging support for Quinn Monday night.

"Now it's time to unite the council and ensure a strong speaker," he said. "I have the utmost confidence that Chris will be a great speaker who will lead our council in a progressive direction."

Queens County Democratic chair Tom Manton let it be known over the weekend he'd support Quinn over de Blasio and other rivals, which had included Queens council members Leroy Comrie and Melinda Katz, in a deal that sources say keeps Queens members in key posts.

The Queens votes were widely considered crucial, as they were four years ago, when Queens and Bronx support helped elect Miller as speaker. Several Queens councilmembers were rewarded then with important leadership positions.

Councilman John Liu (D-Flushing), who had been supporting de Blasio, said Manton called him Monday to signal his choice and that he now plans to vote for Quinn.

Quinn also netted the support of the Bronx and Brooklyn Democratic county committees. Assemb. Vito Lopez, the Brooklyn Democratic leader, said he spoke to de Blasio and other council members Monday and believes that 12 of Brooklyn's 16 council members will vote for Quinn. He made his choice when it became obvious Quinn would win, he said, and to help Brooklyn members win influential posts they were passed over for in 2002.