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Queens Council Member Adrienne Adams Officially Elected City’s First Black Council Speaker

Council Member Adrienne Adams is sworn in as Council speaker (John McCarten/ NYC Council Media Unit)

Jan. 5, 2022 By Allie Griffin

Southeast Queens Council Member Adrienne Adams was officially sworn in as New York City’s first Black council speaker Wednesday.

City council members voted almost unanimously to elect Adams to lead the legislative body. No other member was nominated during the City Council’s first meeting of the year.

Adams, who represents Jamaica, Rochdale Village, Richmond Hill and South Ozone Park in the council, unofficially secured the role last month when all other speaker candidates dropped out and endorsed her.

She will lead the most diverse council body in the city’s history and the first majority women council.

“We meet here today as the most diverse council in history, led by the first African American,” Adams said to celebratory applause from her colleagues.

She secured the position with a vote of 49-to-2.

Black socialist Council Members Charles Barron of Brooklyn and Kristin Richardson Jordan of Harlem did not vote for Adams. Both felt Adams is not progressive enough on issues such as policing.

“We need more than symbolic representation,” Richardson Jordan said.

Barron also said Adams is “cut from the same political cloth” as the mayor and governor.

Adams’ main rival in the speaker race and fellow Queens member Franciso Moya emphatically announced his support for her. He was one of multiple council members to nominate Adams for speaker at the meeting.

Following her swearing-in, Adams announced several appointments. She named Council Member Diana Ayala as deputy speaker, Keith Powers as majority leader and fellow Southeast Queens Council Member Selvena Brooks-Powers as majority whip.

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