Monday, April 21, 2014

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Election Ushers In New Day For Liberal Politics In City Government

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Bill de Blasio wasn't the only self-described progressive candidate who had a good night on Tuesday. Up and down the ballot, particularly in the City Council, liberal-leaning Democrats swept into office, ushering in a new era in city government. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.

It’s not just the mayor. From Public Advocate-elect Letitia James to Comptroller-elect Scott Stringer to the City Council, where Democrats will now control 48 of 51 seats, it's a new day for liberal politics in city government.

"I think it's a more progressive government than it's had in a very long time," said City Councilman Jumaane Williams of Brooklyn.

The City Council will feature 21 new faces, including many young progressives like Carlos Menchaca, Ben Kallos and Antonio Reynoso. Democrats prevailed in a number of tough races, including Paul Vallone and Elizabeth Crowley in Queens, and Vincent Gentile in southwest Brooklyn.

There are also four new borough presidents. A Republican, James Oddo, won on Staten Island, but the rest are Democrats: Melinda Katz in Queens, Eric Adams in Brooklyn and Gale Brewer in Manhattan, who, like others, cautioned that there's hard work ahead.

"Progressive is fine. You know, I think that's a good goal," Brewer said. "You also have to have intelligence, hard work and commitment to sit down how to figure this out."

"The whole country will be looking at New York City for the progressive turn we've taken, and so we have to take that very responsibly," Williams said. "We have a weight on our shoulders, and we have to move forward very carefully, very responsibly."

One sign of the City Council's shift to the left is the emergence of the so-called progressive caucus as a political force. Leaders say that with this election, the group will grow from 11 council members currently to roughly 20. That will likely make it easier for de Blasio to pass legislation on issues like affordable housing, police-community relations and paid sick leave.

Acting as a check are the three remaining Republicans: Vincent Ignizio of Staten Island, Eric Ulrich of Queens and newly elected Stephen Matteo of Staten Island.

"If they want to go in a direction that is the antithesis of all of the gains that we've made in the past 20 years, then I look forward to being the voice of reason in the City Council over the next four years," Ulrich said. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP