Melissa Mark Viverito was elected unanimously as Speaker of the New York City Council today. The Speaker is the most powerful legislator in the city, setting the council’s agenda and naming representatives to a variety of influential positions.
Mark Viverito, who was born in Bayamón and lives in East Harlem, is the first Latina to hold this position. She is also the first Latino to hold a citywide post in New York and the first person of color to serve as Speaker.
Mayor De Blasio supported Mark Viverito, and she was nominated by Council members Ritchie Torres, Inez Barron, Daniel Dromm, Robert Cornegy, and Julissa Ferreras. The other candidate for the position, Daniel Garodnick, conceded the post on Wednesday and expressed his commitment to working with Mark Viverito.
Mark Viverito’s acceptance speech was bilingual, including both Spanish and English. She came to New York from Puerto Rico at 18 to go to school, and graduated from Columbia. She worked as a Strategic Organizer for a health care workers union and first became a member of the City Council in 2005.