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Queens Council Member Adrienne Adams Set to be the City’s First Black Council Speaker

Council Member Adrienne Adams (NYC Council/ John McCarten)

Dec. 17, 2021 By Allie Griffin

Southeast Queens Council Member Adrienne Adams has — once again — declared victory in the council speaker race.

Adams announced Friday that she expects to have a majority of votes when the new council casts its ballots for speaker early next month. She has secured at least 33 members’ votes out of the 51 total members, she said.

Adams will be the city’s first Black council speaker if her numbers hold true.

“I am honored to have earned the support and the trust of my colleagues to be their Speaker,” Adams said in a statement. “Our coalition reflects the best of our city. We are ready to come together to solve the enormous challenges we face in order to not just recover from Covid but to build a better, fairer City that works for everyone.”

The other frontrunner in the race, Council Member Francisco Moya, conceded to Adams Friday.

“I am proud to have brought together a broad coalition of leaders from all corners of the city who supported my campaign as the next Speaker of the City Council,” he said in a statement posted on Twitter. “At this point, it is clear that I do not have a path to victory.”

Moya, who represents Corona, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, and LeFrak City, said he fully backs Adams as speaker.

“I have worked alongside [Council Member Adrienne Adams] for many years,” Moya said. “She is a dedicated and thoughtful leader who I know will work closely with all councilmembers. I will fully support her leadership as we continue to fight the devastation of the pandemic.”

Moya’s concession, however, comes just three days after the Corona native declared victory.

He initially said Tuesday that he, in fact, had the votes needed to win the speaker title about an hour after Adams first announced her supposed win the same day.

This time, Adams — who represents Jamaica, Rochdale Village, Richmond Hill and South Ozone Park — listed every current and incoming council member who she said plans to vote for her to prove she has the speaker gig in the bag.

Included in the 33 members who are backing Adams are Queens Council Members Tiffany Cabán, James Gennaro, Selvena Brooks-Powers and Queens Council Members-elect Sandra Ung, Linda Lee, Shekar Krishnan, Julie Won, Nantasha Williams, Lynn Schulman and Jennifer Gutiérrez as well as herself — according to Adams’ list.

The Queens council members not on Adams’ list are Moya, Council Member Robert Holden and Republican Council Members-elect Joann Ariola and Vickie Paladino.

Adams earned the support of several labor unions, including 32BJ SEIU, DC 37, CWA District 1 and NYSNA in her run for speaker.

“I want to thank the Council members, labor and party leaders, women’s groups, and everyone in our broad coalition for their support,” she said. “The City Council will be a collaborative and effective legislative body that incorporates what makes New York City great and focuses on the needs of our communities.”

Mayor-elect Eric Adams had reportedly been pushing for Moya as speaker behind the scenes.

Nonetheless, he congratulated Adrienne Adams Friday.

“After weeks of hearing from incoming Council Members and leaders I trust across New York, I am convinced that Adrienne Adams will be the best choice to lead our City Council forward, and I believe she has the support to do it,” he wrote on Twitter.

“Let me be the first to congratulate my good friend Adrienne Adams on securing the votes to become the City Council’s speaker and making history.”

The two Adams have no blood relation but were classmates at the same school, Bayside High School, as teens.

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