UPinion: A New Day At The City Council

By Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez (@ydanis)

Melissa Mark-Viverito at City Hall

Melissa Mark-Viverito at City Hall on August 17, 2011. (Photo: Mirela Iverac | WNYC)

With the expected election of Melissa Mark-Viverito to the Speaker of the NYC Council, we are electing not only the first speaker of Latino descent, but a true leader–wholly committed to building a progressive New York City for all residents. Over her time at the city council, I have grown to know Melissa to be someone who cares deeply for not only her constituents but for those in need across the five boroughs.

From fighting for the rights of immigrants to keep them from unjust deportations, to pushing strongly for living and prevailing wage legislation, Melissa has led the charge on issues important to New Yorkers who have been left behind in recent years. I have every confidence that, together with our other recently elected city-wide leaders, the leadership of this city will be more progressive and diverse than ever before.

This shift has been a long time coming. For twenty years, we have seen a leadership that has cared more about promoting policies for the already established rather than bringing more of our city into the middle class. Now, we see homelessness higher than ever before, we see food insecurity on the rise and we face a major crisis in affordable housing. New Yorkers have woken up to these issues; have responded with their votes; and their representatives will soon follow suit.

With a Melissa Mark-Viverito led city council, we will see a commitment to low wage workers, ensuring that anyone who works full time job in New York City is able to live here and provide for their families as well. We will see a city council that holds city agencies and departments accountable, meaning an end to the stop and frisk era at the NYPD and an end to the criminalization of poverty and homelessness. We will see the empowerment of members of our body, so that any council member who proposes legislation will see it pass or fail on its merits rather than its political convenience.

A new day is dawning in New York City, and with the leadership of Melissa Mark-Viverito, the city council will help make it a bright one.


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