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Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Quinn to be Council Speaker

Christine C. Quinn

Council Ready to Fill the Job of Speaker

Published: January 3, 2006

City Councilwoman Christine C. Quinn's candidacy for Council speaker received the support of the powerful Democratic organizations in Queens, the Bronx and Brooklyn yesterday, all but ensuring that she gets the job.

While the speaker will not be officially chosen until tomorrow, by a majority vote of the 51-member Council, Ms. Quinn had enough votes last night to make the election a formality, Council members and Democratic leaders said.

Ms. Quinn did not return phone calls yesterday, but issued a statement through an aide. "I am gratified for the support of my colleagues," she said. "I look forward to the vote on Wednesday, and to working with them to improve the lives of all New Yorkers."

Ms. Quinn, 39, represents the Manhattan neighborhoods of Greenwich Village, Chelsea, Clinton and parts of SoHo and Murray Hill. She would succeed Gifford Miller, who is leaving the Council under the city's term limits law after his unsuccessful bid for mayor. She would be only the third speaker - and the first woman and first openly gay council member - to serve in the position since it was created by the 1989 City Charter revisions.

After months of maneuvering, Ms. Quinn emerged as the likely winner after Democratic leaders in Queens, the Bronx and Brooklyn decided over the weekend to support her instead of her closest rival, Councilman Bill de Blasio of Brooklyn.


In a statement last night, Mr. de Blasio thanked his supporters and urged them to support Ms. Quinn. "I've given this race my all, but my colleague Christine Quinn has the support to win," he said. "Now it's time to unite the Council and ensure a strong speaker, so I am supporting Chris."

The speaker's position has taken on increasing importance in recent years as a counterbalance to the mayor.....

Ms. Quinn, a close ally of Mr. Miller's, is perhaps best known for rallying opponents against the Bloomberg administration's plan to build a football stadium in her West Side district. Since joining the Council in 1999, she has championed socially progressive health and worker benefits laws.

Quinn was the city's leading lesbian activist when she was elected to office. I mean, she was kind of hard to miss with her flaming red hair and generally combative nature.

She's great on most issues and she doesn't have Gifford Miller's agenda in her back pocket.

I can remember the last City Council President, which is what the Speaker's job was before the charter revision to eliminate the Board of Estimate. The guy's name was Tom Cuite and he was an Irish guy from Brooklyn who made it his sworn duty to prevent a gay rights bill from being passed in the City Council.

The fact, that in 20 years he can be replaced by a lesbian is a great thing. I've always trusted Quinn as a straightfoward pol and one who doesn't back down from a fight.

Given the still high levels of homophobia in the city, this could be a lot of fun.

posted by Steve @ 12:10:00 AM

12:10:00 AM

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