‘We’re going to run this city!’ Majority of NYC city council likely to be women

New York Elections

LOWER MANHATTAN — New York City may not be getting its first ever woman mayor, but when the city council is seated next year, the vast majority are likely to be women.

Many of those future female leaders rallied at City Hall Tuesday with some of the advocates and elected officials who made their journeys possible.

The chant “When women run, women win!” echoed through City Hall park.

PIX11 political reporter Henry Rosoff live tweeted the event:

Ahead of the June primaries, there was a concerted effort to mentor, encourage and fundraise for women across the five boroughs organized by the group 21 in 21. One of the founders is former City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

“We want to maintain and grow the presence of women in this council and hopefully we will be 51 out of 51 someday,” Mark-Viverito said.

Ranked choice voting was credited by those who rallied Tuesday with helping forge alliances and giving a more diverse group of candidates a chance to get elected. The end result was a group of women who have now won the Democratic nominations in their deep blue districts — making it highly likely they’ll go on to be elected in November.

“I’m the first woman in this seat and first person of color,” said Linda Lee of Queens, the Democratic nominee, likely to be elected in the general election. “I’ll also be the first Korean American to be elected to city council.”

Shahana Hanif of Brooklyn would be the first Muslim woman on the council from a district historically represented by white men — like Mayor Bill de Blasio and current-Democratic nominee for comptroller, Brad Lander.

“This is charting a new path of leadership coming to city hall,” Hanif said.

Crystal Hudson will likely be among the first two out, queer, Black women on the council. Sandy Nurse is also poised to take a position on the council, continuing a more recent tradition of activists gaining more power in the legislative body.

Hear more from Hudson and Nurse here

Sandra Ung might have best captured the hope of the future female lawmakers with here comments: “When women work with other women, we get things accomplished.”

It was a message echoed passionately by the most powerful woman in state government: Attorney General Tish James.  

“We’re going to run this city,” James said, before encouraging the new lawmakers to act boldly on behalf of all women in the city.

“This is more than ceremony and more than becoming a city councilmember,” James said. “You’ve got a responsibility and duty to stand up for those who are ignored, those who are locked out of the system!”

Job one for the majority women council will be picking a leader. There is no small amount of pressure to make sure the next council speaker is a woman, especially with the three citywide elected positions of mayor, comptroller and public advocate all poised to again be men.

Among the most serious contenders to lead this group as speaker is the Lower East Side’s Carlina Rivera.

“To be able to have the privilege of leading that body, and I want us to be a strong effective council that leads a just recovery, it would be an absolute honor,” she said.

There are number of other councilmembers heading into their second terms and vying to be speaker, including several gentlemen.

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