City Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito was elected unanimously to become the next speaker of the City Council Wednesday afternoon after fellow Democrat Daniel Garodnick conceded ahead of the nomination and formal vote. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.
A bitter dispute ended with a hug.
Melissa Mark-Viverito made history on Wednesday to become the first Latina City Council Speaker.
She was elected unanimously.
"You all have a friend and an ally in the speaker's office, and my door will always be open," Mark-Viverito said.
The vote came after a long battle between the Democratic county leaders backing Daniel Garodnick and Mark-Viverito's coalition of progressives and Brooklyn Democrats.
Garodnick conceded before Wednesday's vote.
"In the spirit of strengthening the Council, which animated my candidacy from the start, I want to formally concede," he said.
The most vocal of Mark-Viverito's supporters was Mayor Bill de Blasio.
"I think she's going to be a great speaker of the City Council," de Blasio said.
"I think the fact that you had the result that you had today in terms of this vote I think is also demonstrable of the leadership that I lent to this day today," said Rep. Joseph Crowley, the Queens Democratic Leader.
Moments before the vote, the final tally was uncertain.
Wednesday morning, Mark-Viverito had more than 30 supporters. Her backers marched to City Hall together weaving through downtown Manhattan in a show of solidarity.
Garodnick's supporters were behind closed doors. Seeing a clear defeat, they arrived at City Hall an hour later. He then conceded.
"We did not have the votes to win, and that we did not have the potential to secure the votes to win," Garodnick said.
The Council may still be fractured from the fight, particularly from the mayor's aggressive lobbying on behalf of Mark-Viverito. Some have floated the idea of an independent caucus to counteract the now-emboldened progressive block.
"Hopefully, we can all work together," said City Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz of Queens.
Nonetheless, it's clear that Mark-Viverito's elevation is historic.
"Because she is accomplished and a Latina," said City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras of Queens.
At her first press conference, the new speaker took a handful of questions. Many of them were answered in Spanish.
Q: Can you repeat that in English please?
Mark-Viverito: Nope. Speaker prerogative.
Web Extra: Watch the speaker's full remarks
TWC News: Mark-Viverito Elected New Council Speaker
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