NEW YORK — City Council speaker candidate Diana Ayala said Tuesday she was inspired to run so women can get a stronger voice in New York City politics.

While women for the first time are set to represent a majority of the City Council in the new term starting in January, there are currently no women citywide elected officials nor will there be any in the new term, and few women have ever been council speaker.

“I think that for me it’s important that women be represented at every table, including the speaker's table,” Ayala told NY1 political anchor Errol Louis in an interview on "Inside City Hall." “That is pretty much driving my interest in running for speaker.”

The incoming members of the City Council will select a new speaker in January. There are several candidates hoping to lead the body, including Ayala of District 8 in Manhattan.

The Democrat just won reelection, and has served in the council since 2018. Her district covers East Harlem and parts of the South Bronx, and she previously worked for former Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

Ayala has faced many struggles in her life, which she said also inspired her to become involved in politics. She believes she is the right fit to be speaker because she has a different perspective on how the city works.

“I share the same story as many New Yorkers,” she said.

“I’ve been food insecure; I've been homeless twice; I was a teenage parent, my son's father was shot and killed, when I was three months pregnant, the night before my 16th birthday; I dropped out of school; I lost other family members to gun violence,” she added. “I think you can check off pretty much every social justice issue that we fight for has been mine.”

If selected, Ayala would become the city’s second Latina council speaker. There are currently no Latino or Latina citywide or statewide elected officials.


Watch the full interview above.


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