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NY1 News celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month 2013 with this week-long series of reports.

Hispanic Heritage Week 2013: Melissa Mark-Viverito Considered To Be City Council Speaker Contender

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Melissa Mark-Viverito, the city councilwoman representing East Harlem, is looking to take a big step forward when the new council convenes in January. NY1's Jon Weinstein filed the following report.

Melissa Mark-Viverito is likely to win a third term representing the Eighth City Council district this fall. But this time around, her district is drastically different.

Parts of East Harlem and Manhattan Valley were cut out earlier this year. Now, it is split 50/50 between Manhattan and the Bronx.

Losing part of East Harlem, or El Barrio, was not what Mark-Viverito wanted, but her new district is still overwhelmingly Latino.

"We will have a fully functional and operational with 100 percent staffing in the Bronx, as we will have in East Harlem," Mark-Viverito said. "It would be completely unfair to ask 50 percent of a constituency to go into another borough for service."

After winning a hard-fought primary, Mark-Viverito is gearing up for another race. She's one of a handful of council members considered to be a contender to replace Christine Quinn as City Council Speaker.

"I'm definitely interested in putting out the vision that I have, and one that really compliments, I think, the vision that has been laid out during this mayoral campaign," she said.

It's no coincidence that Mark-Viverito brings up the mayoral campaign. She was an early supporter of Democratic nominee Bill de Blasio. Political observers say that if he wins his run for City Hall, it could both help and hurt her quest to lead the Council.

"The speaker is supposed to serve almost as a check on the mayor, and here, you have two people who are like-minded, who share the sort of same progressive activist idea of government, and I think there are people who would be very nervous about that," said John Gutierrez, a professor at John Jay College.

The new City Council is likely to be comprised of a majority of Latinos, African Americans and Asians, something Mark-Viverito thinks could help her.

"I believe that my counterparts are going to want to see leadership that is reflective of that," she said.

Melissa Mark-Viverito is the first Puerto Rican woman to represent this neighborhood in the Council. Whether or not she can become the first Latina or Latino speaker of the Council remains to be seen.

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