Melissa Mark-Viverito was elected earlier this month as the first Latina City Council speaker, and on Wednesday, she threw an inauguration ceremony in the Bronx to mark the occasion.
She said she would work to increase affordable housing and push for the mayor’s proposal to tax more affluent New Yorkers to pay for universal pre-k.
“I believe that the Council and our city government as a whole can do more to improve the lives of New Yorkers, everyday New Yorkers, who are increasingly feeling the great inequality crisis,” Mark-Viverito said.
Mayor Bill de Blasio himself also spoke, praising his new partner in government.
Serenaded by Puerto Rican bomba drums and “si se puede!” chants, the inauguration was also as much about the ascension of Latino lawmakers in the city as it was the rise of the progressive movement. Hispanic Congress members José Serrano and Nydia Velázquez hailed Ms. Mark-Viverito’s rise, as did ex-Bronx Borough President Freddy Ferrer, who in 2005 was the first Latino nominee for mayor by a major party. He also pointed to some of the negative press coverage the speaker received during the campaign.
“If you shot down from another planet and read the newspapers or saw the television, you would think, ‘Oh my goodness, somebody named Che is gonna be speaker. They’re gonna put hexes on all of us. They’re gonna conspire to turn this place into something that we shouldn’t be,’” Mr. Ferrer said, referring to a bizarre “hex” story in the tabloids about Ms. Mark-Viverito. “Well, what did they do? This speaker and this mayor conspired to lift the lives of families and their children by giving a little more to the people working hard and bringing home less.”
Appearing on schedule at the end of the program, Mr. de Blasio spoke and underscored many of the liberal themes that dominated the night, including easing the city’s the income inequality.“In our household, there’s a fight, there’s a big fight over who’s the biggest fan of Melissa Mark-Viverito,” said Mr. de Blasio, standing next to his wife, Chirlane McCray. “I hope I win but sometimes the first lady wins.”
“Today we celebrate the election of the most progressive speaker in the City Council in the history of New York City,” he later declared.
World Liberty TV, Political team was on hand to cover this Historical Inauguration of The First Latino ever to be elected as the Speaker of New York City Council. And her name is, Melissa Mark –Viverito.