Photo Courtesy of William Alatriste/NYC Council
By Michael V. Cusenza
The City Council seems to have its new leader.
Barring an eleventh-hour shakeup, Councilman Corey Johnson (D-Manhattan) will succeed Melissa Mark-Viverito as Council Speaker.
According to myriad published reports, Johnson has earned the coveted, critically important backing of Queens Democratic Chairman Joe Crowley and Bronx Democratic Chairman Marcos Crespo; and five of the seven remaining speaker candidates have conceded to support him, making the Jan. 3 vote of the city’s 51-member legislative body virtually perfunctory. (Brooklyn Councilmen Robert Cornegy and Jumaane Williams have not suspended their campaigns.)
Johnson, 35, has not publicly commented on the latest speaker race development, though he has been receiving a steady stream of congratulatory messages from council colleagues and other city leaders over the past few days.
Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) said Johnson “will make a great @NYCCouncil Speaker. I am looking forward to my last term in office under his leadership. It will be epic!”
Councilman Rafael Salamanca, Jr. (D-Bronx) also tweeted his congratulations, calling Johnson “a fearless leader whom I look forward to working alongside to move this City forward.”
Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch wrote, “Congratulations to @CoreyinNYC on securing the speakership. NYC police officers need @NYCCouncil’s support to build a stronger, safer NYC. Looking forward to working together toward that goal.”
And District 1 of the Communications Workers of America said it, too, is looking forward to working with Johnson, whom they characterized as “a strong advocate for workers’ rights and social justice.”
Johnson, who is openly gay and HIV-positive, is a progressive Democrat, which has endeared him to Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“I came to the conclusion in the last few days that Corey Johnson was the right candidate,” Hizzoner told the New York Daily News on Thursday. “I’m happy to support him.”
Johnson was reelected in November to his second term representing Council District 3, which includes the neighborhoods of Greenwich Village, Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen, Flatiron, West SoHo, Hudson Square, the Meatpacking District, Columbus Circle, Times Square, the Theater District, the Garment District, Columbus Circle and part of the Upper West Side.
He has passed a total of 29 pieces of legislation, and serves on six committees, including as chairman of the Council Committee on Health. Johnson also is a member of the Council’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Caucus and co-chairman of the Manhattan Delegation.