Local lawmakers on Wednesday officially chose Councilwoman Adrienne Adams to serve as City Council speaker.
“It’s been a long and arduous road, but I am truly blessed to be here in this chamber in this position to serve all New Yorkers during this time of great need,” Adams (D-Queens) said in a speech in after the votes were cast. “I’m confident — so confident — that this work that we do will accomplish what we’ve been tasked to do by those we represent, and that is getting New York back on its feet.”
“New York is at the crossroads of multiple crises, each one competing for our attention,” she said. “The people who elected us demand their government take action. They want to feel safe and they want to be treated with respect and dignity.”
Adams received 49 yes votes in the 51-member body, as no other contenders were nominated ahead of Wednesday afternoon’s election and far-left council members Charles Barron (D-Brooklyn) and Kristin Richardson Jordan (D-Harlem) abstained.
Adams — who represented Jamaica, Rochdale Village, Richmond Hill and South Ozone Park since 2018 — will be the first black New York City Council speaker.
“We meet here today as the most diverse council in history, led by the first African American,” Adams said to applause from those in attendance.
The historic selection was delivered by the city’s first majority-women City Council, after last year voters elected 31 women to serve on the body.
Council speakers, selected by the body’s members at the beginning of each term, set the body’s legislative agenda, select committee chairs and members and lead negotiations on the city budget.
The expected vote, issued during the first full-body meeting of the term, came after she unofficially won the race last month, when 30 lawmakers signed on to a statement backing the second-term lawmaker.
In the final stages of the contest, Adams was backed by US Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), the Queens Democratic Party chairman, as well as the National Organization for Women, Councilman Justin Brannan (D-Brooklyn), who was a former top speaker contender, and labor unions including District Council 37, a city employee union, and building workers’ union 32BJ.
Her main competitor as the race boiled down to two contenders, Councilman Francisco Moya (D-Queens), was backed by Mayor Eric Adams (no relation to the councilwoman) as well as the powerful Hotel Trades Council.
Two days before Adams cemented her victory in the race — conducted mostly behind the scenes by various Big Apple political power brokers — both Moya and Adams declared victory in the race within hours of each other.
But on Dec. 17, Adams had enough votes to seal the deal, and Moya conceded.
“I have worked alongside Councilmember @AdrienneEAdams1 for many years,” Moya said in a tweet. “She is a dedicated and thoughtful leader who I know will work closely with all councilmembers.”
Adams will replace ex-Speaker Corey Johnson, whose second and final term in the council ended at the end of 2021. Before Johnson, who ran unsuccessfully for city comptroller, the council speakers were Melissa Mark-Viverito, Christine Quinn, who ran for mayor in 2013, and Gifford Miller.