Corey Johnson was elected Metropolis Council speaker in an amazing vote Wednesday, capping months of maneuvering that may make him town’s second-most-powerful elected official.
Johnson — a Manhattan Democrat who’s homosexual and HIV optimistic — was chosen in a 48-1 vote. Councilwoman Inez Barron, who mounted her personal last-minute bid for speaker to protest the shortage of black candidates, was the lone no vote.
The brand new chief is predicted to pose a problem to Mayor de Blasio — saying he received’t hesitate to push by payments over the mayor’s veto, which by no means occurred beneath his predecessor — though their progressive ideological views largely align. He takes over from Melissa Mark-Viverito, who left the job due to time period limits.
The Massachusetts native, 35, recalled transferring to New York at age 19, with two baggage and no concept the place he was going to stay.
“I would like New York to be a spot the place you may nonetheless be 19 years previous and are available right here and nonetheless survive. And it’s turning into an increasing number of tough if you happen to don’t come from a rich household to have the ability to try this,” he stated.
“It must be a spot the place you may come as an adolescent and keep right here and go to highschool and get a superb job.”
Johnson labored aggressively to shore up assist in what had as soon as been a wide-open subject of eight candidates. He was all however assured of the job after he received the blessing of the Queens and Bronx Democratic events, notably Queens boss Joe Crowley, who reclaimed his conventional position as Council kingmaker 4 years after being shut out when Mark-Viverito was chosen for the job.
Lots of his first seven rivals shortly dropped out, although Councilman Jumaane Williams (D-Brooklyn) didn’t concede earlier than Wednesday, and his final opponent, Barron (D-Brooklyn), mounted her problem late final month.
Johnson harassed he will likely be “impartial” of the mayor — and in contrast to de Blasio, helps congestion pricing, in addition to giving extra metropolis cash to the MTA if there are assurances on how it is going to be spent. He additionally stated there’s little urge for food on the Council to revive Hizzoner’s push to ban horse carriages.
“I’m high quality with overriding vetoes,” he advised reporters after the vote. “I’m greater than prepared to try this.”
The largest controversy over Johnson’s choice centered round race, with some Council members and civil rights teams objecting to giving the job to a white man. Three of the 4 citywide officers at the moment are white and male.
“Black, Latino and Asians are the bulk on this metropolis, but we now have by no means, ever had a black speaker,” Barron stated on the steps of Metropolis Corridor Wednesday, earlier than nominating herself for the job. “It’s our flip now.”
Barron blasted it as “unconscionable” that the Democratic Get together in 2018 would “conspire” to dam a black candidate from capturing the job. However whereas a number of members applauded her bid, she didn’t garner any votes from the 51-member Council apart from her personal.
Williams, who can be rumored as a potential major challenger to Gov. Cuomo, opted to skip the vote and as a substitute attend Cuomo’s State of the State speech in Albany. Debi Rose (D-Staten Island) was the opposite Council member not in attendance.
One other black candidate for the put up, Brooklyn Councilman Robert Cornegy, stayed within the race for greater than per week after the deal to anoint Johnson. Cornegy objected to the choice of a white candidate, however he finally provided his assist — and seconded Johnson’s nomination Wednesday.
“The black group is the bottom of the Democratic Get together. And we got quick shrift,” stated the Rev. Jacques Andre DeGraff, affiliate pastor of Harlem’s Canaan Baptist Church, who backed Cornegy.
Johnson stated he understood the racial issues, and would ensure management and committee posts go to a various group of pols.
“I’m by no means going to check my expertise to that of an individual of coloration in New York Metropolis,” he stated. “After I stroll right into a Duane Reade, I don’t get adopted round by somebody as a result of they suppose I’m going to shoplift.”
Johnson, who has spoken overtly about his previous struggles with alcohol and drug dependancy, has chaired the well being committee for the final 4 years, and represents Chelsea, the Village and Hell’s Kitchen.
The long run speaker first made headlines whereas nonetheless in highschool, when he got here out as homosexual whereas co-captain of his soccer crew.
Together with his mom, Ann, trying on Wednesday, he stated he was “suicidal, despondent, and I didn’t wish to stay” when he first advised her he was homosexual.
Then he needed to inform his 82-year previous, Mass-attending Irish Catholic grandfather.
“He stated, ‘Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, I believed you have been going to inform me you have been a Republican. You might be homosexual, however you must be a Democrat,” he recalled his grandfather saying.
In addition to supporting congestion pricing to boost cash for the crumbling subway, Johnson — who has by no means owned a automobile, however will get a automobile and driver with the put up — stated he’ll proceed to journey the trains repeatedly as speaker.
“I really just like the subway when it really works,” he stated. “It’s good individuals watching.”