The City’s teachers union is not yet ready to throw its support behind a candidate for City Council Speaker, but the group’s leaders are making it clear they believe the next speaker should be a woman.
United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew told NY1 the union will support a woman candidate citing Tuesday’s election which resulted in the 51 seat council having a majority of women in the body for the first time in history.
"New York City made history by electing a Council where women will be the new majority. Educators helped make this happen,” Mulgrew said. “The next logical step is for the City Council to select a woman as Speaker.”
Last month, the UFT's Delegate Assembly, which is the union's highest policy-making body, adopted a resolution urging all Council members to select a woman for this city-wide position.
The push for a woman speaker is also being supported by the National Organization for Women NY (NOW-NY).
“There are highly qualified women who are ready and willing to lead. To bypass an outstanding woman candidate who can lead the first women-majority chamber doesn’t recognize this historic milestone,” Sonia Ossorio, President of NOW-NY told NY1 in a statement.
There are several women in the running to become City Council Speaker -- a race which is determined by members of the council and often comes down to a series of deal making and negotiating between county party leaders, members of congress and the incoming mayor.
So far, Council members Carlina Rivera, a Democrat from downtown Manhattan, Diana Ayala, a Democrat from East Harlem, Adrianne Adams from southeast Queens, and Gale Brewer from The Upper West Side have all indicated they plan to run.
Rivera, Ayala and Adams have informally launched their bids.
The race for speaker is being hotly debated during the Somos El Futuro Conference in Puerto Rico which is underway this week. The annual political gathering attracts New York’s most prominent Democrats including Governor Kathy Hochul, State Attorney Letitia James, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Mayor Elect Eric Adams.
The push to elect a woman speaker is also being supported by 21 in '21 – the group was formed in part by former City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, the first Latina ever elected to lead the body and it played a pivotal role helping to elect women members to the Council in Tuesday’s election.
Although none of the organizations would say if there is a specific woman candidate they‘re leaning towards, the push indicates some momentum for women in the running. There are several male candidates in the running as well, including Councilman Keith Powers of Manhattan, Francisco Moya of Queens and Justin Brannan of Brooklyn.
Brannan is in a dead heat against a Republican challenger in his council district. Several sources at Somos have suggested Brannan’s bid for the speakership is hurt by his poor showing on Tuesday.
Jessica Haller, executive director for 21 in '21 told NY1 this year's election should pave the way for another woman to lead the body.
“With historic female representation across the city, we want to empower the new majority to choose a woman Speaker that best represents them and their diversity,” Haller said. “This moment calls for our organization to step out with other women groups and the UFT to support a woman as the next Speaker to continue the momentum and the movement."