The diversity in the 2022 New York City Council is barrier-breaking, history-making and, already, kind of old news. For months, we’ve known that the 51 members elected to represent the five boroughs were set to be the first majority-female class, the largest contingent of Asian American members in history and the first to welcome a Muslim woman in a city with more than 750,000 Muslim residents.
Those wins for representation were hard fought and, many argue, years late. Now, it’s time to see what the council’s new diversity looks like in action. “I think that it’s a real opportunity to kind of look at how we make government more responsive to the needs of the majority,” former City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito told City & State. “Obviously the city is majority of color, but it’s (also) majority women. The policies and the budgets and the direction that we go in has to be inclusive of all of that experience.”
The backgrounds of the 35 incoming members – including repeat members Gale Brewer, Charles Barron and Darlene Mealy – will, unsurprisingly, inform how they pursue the city’s greatest policy challenges. The new council includes teachers, tenants’ rights attorneys, single mothers, former council staffers, administration alums and immigrants on both sides of the aisle. As The New York Times put it, the City Council is about to “look more like New York.”
“We’ve always had them from the different neighborhoods, but now you’re going to see people who have kind of had the lived experiences from those neighborhoods be represented at the City Council,” said Yvette Buckner, a political consultant and vice chair on the board of 21 in ’21, the organization that focused on electing more women to the council this year. Buckner suggested that the city should expect a focus on COVID-19 recovery right out of the gate. “People who were in neighborhoods where there was no hospital during COVID, I think you’re going to see them say, ‘Why don’t we have better health care and a hospital in my neighborhood?’ I think we’re going to see dollars and thoughts and ideas just being (spread) differently than they were previously.”
Political diversity, too, will define the new council. The 51-member body will work alongside, and sometimes at odds with moderate Democratic Mayor Eric Adams. Joining the council’s ranks are two members of the Democratic Socialists of America, Tiffany Cabán and Alexa Avilés. Those members – and a growing contingent of progressives, just shy of socialist Democrats – campaigned on issues that would pull the body leftward, including defunding the New York City Police Department and halting the construction of new jails. At the same time, a growing minority will be representing the right. The 2022 council welcomes three new Republican members, giving Minority Leader Joseph Borelli a caucus of five – and that doesn’t even include the several conservative and moderate Democratic members who often vote with Republicans. Though slight, the minority party – and the larger Common-Sense Caucus – may not be big enough to block most bills from passing, but they’ll have a bigger platform from which they can speak out against the most progressive leanings of the council. The Republican and moderate Democratic bloc could see their positions – and opposition to progressive left policies – affirmed by Adams too.
Several end-of-year stated meetings at the council have offered a sneak preview into the roles some of the new members will play. Democratic Socialist Tiffany Cabán and Republican Donald Trump supporter Inna Vernikov were both sworn in early to fill vacant seats. During the council’s December vote on a bill to grant immigrants municipal voting rights, for example, Vernikov – an immigrant herself – joined the minority in criticizing the proposal, while Cabán spoke in favor of its passage.
How the members at the farthest ends of the political spectrum will get along – let alone how those in the middle will collaborate – remains to be seen. Mark-Viverito suggested that a lot of that will depend on the speaker. “You’ve got to make sure that you’re creating an environment where all those voices are welcome, even though they disagree with you,” she said, speaking to City & State in early December, prior to Adrienne Adams securing the votes needed to be elected the next speaker.
Which new members will eagerly reach across the aisle come January? What’s at the top of your representative’s agenda? What are members watching on Netflix in between meetings? In late November and early December, City & State asked those questions and more in a survey to all incoming members to get the lowdown on the new lawmakers. New York City, meet your new City Council.
The responses have been edited for length and clarity.
Democrat, District 3
Predecessor: Corey Johnson (D)
GREW UP IN: Lake Placid
CURRENT RESIDENCE: Chelsea, Manhattan
LAST JOB: District chief of staff for Speaker Corey Johnson
TOP LEGISLATIVE PRIORITY: Addressing our city’s sanitation crisis
LOOKING FORWARD TO WORKING WITH: Althea Stevens
WANT TO WORK WITH ERIC ADAMS ON: Addressing the crisis of serious mental illness in New York City
RECENT BILL WITH MOST POSITIVE IMPACT: Intro. 1932-A, which protected small-business owners from having their personal assets seized if they weren’t able to pay their rent.
TV/STREAMING OBSESSION: “The Wire” … I know, I know, I’m a few years behind.
Democrat, District 5
Predecessor: Ben Kallos (D)
GREW UP IN: Washington, D.C.
CURRENT RESIDENCE: Yorkville, Manhattan
LAST JOB: New York City census director
TOP LEGISLATIVE PRIORITY: Ensuring a full and equitable recovery from COVID-19. We need to help our small businesses, ensure our city agencies are providing critically needed services, build affordable housing and create greater economic opportunity.
LOOKING FORWARD TO WORKING WITH: The next speaker of the City Council
WANT TO WORK WITH ERIC ADAMS ON: We need to have comprehensive planning in our city. In order to build more schools, hospitals, parks, transportation infrastructure, affordable housing and more, we need to reform our land use process and have a master plan for our city so that critical needs are met.
RECENT BILL WITH MOST POSITIVE IMPACT: Whether adding residential tenant protections for those facing real hardship, creating and codifying the Open Restaurants program which saved tens of thousands of jobs for workers, waiving interest on New York City property taxes or creating more worker protections for delivery workers, the New York City Council protected New Yorkers impacted by COVID-19.
TV/STREAMING OBSESSION: My daughter and I did start watching “Octonauts,” which I have to say is a must watch!
Democrat, District 7
Predecessor: Mark Levine (D)
GREW UP IN: Washington Heights and the Upper West Side, Manhattan
CURRENT RESIDENCE: Manhattan Valley, Manhattan
LAST JOB: Tenant rights attorney, New York Legal Assistance Group
TOP LEGISLATIVE PRIORITY: Pandemic recovery. We have to account for the losses suffered by families, workers, students and small businesses, and we have to build structures that can better withstand future disruptions.
LOOKING FORWARD TO WORKING WITH: Carmen De La Rosa, who has always led with grace and strength.
WANT TO WORK WITH ERIC ADAMS ON: Universal access to after-school programs to ensure every kid has a safe, supportive place to be in the afternoons and reduce some of the burden on working parents.
RECENT BILL WITH MOST POSITIVE IMPACT: The Citywide Climate Resiliency Plan, which protects residents, property and infrastructure from some of the most harmful effects of climate change.
TV/STREAMING OBSESSION: “The Great British Baking Show”
Kristin Richardson Jordan
Democrat, District 9
Predecessor: Bill Perkins (D)
GREW UP IN: Harlem, Manhattan
CURRENT RESIDENCE: Harlem, Manhattan
LAST JOB: Literacy specialist at the Boys & Girls Club of Harlem, independent teaching artist at Central Harlem Senior Center & A. Philip Randolph Senior Center, poetry book author
TOP LEGISLATIVE PRIORITY: Police accountability
LOOKING FORWARD TO WORKING WITH: Charles Barron
WANT TO WORK WITH ERIC ADAMS ON: N/A
RECENT BILL WITH MOST POSITIVE IMPACT: Disallow use of credit information in renting or leasing affordable units (Intro. 1603)
TV/STREAMING OBSESSION: Eh, that’s not really my thing.
Carmen De La Rosa
Democrat, District 10
Predecessor: Ydanis Rodriguez (D)
GREW UP IN: Inwood, Manhattan
CURRENT RESIDENCE: Inwood, Manhattan
LAST JOB: Assembly member
TOP LEGISLATIVE PRIORITY: Affordable and healthy housing for all. Like many neighborhoods in New York City and beyond, northern Manhattan has been targeted for gentrification. We need to develop policies to protect tenants and ensure our communities are able to flourish while maintaining the people, businesses and culture who call uptown home.
LOOKING FORWARD TO WORKING WITH: I am looking forward to serving with a majority woman identified council. I feel energized and inspired by all of my new incoming colleagues who have a diversity of experiences and share a desire to uplift our communities.
WANT TO WORK WITH ERIC ADAMS ON: Homelessness. During the Adams campaign, he spoke often about quality of life issues, and I am optimistic we can find common ground with his administration to address the growing homelessness crisis.
RECENT BILL WITH MOST POSITIVE IMPACT: One bill that will continue to have a positive impact on our city and beyond is the strengthening of the Green New Deal for New York City and Local Law 97.
TV/STREAMING OBSESSION: “Manifest”
Democrat, District 13
Predecessor: Mark Gjonaj (D)
GREW UP IN: Parkchester, Bronx
CURRENT RESIDENCE: Throggs Neck, Bronx
LAST JOB: Democratic district leader (District 82, Part B)
TOP LEGISLATIVE PRIORITY: I want to pass legislation that sets specific and achievable timelines for major infrastructure projects funded within the city’s capital budget.
LOOKING FORWARD TO WORKING WITH: Gale Brewer
WANT TO WORK WITH ERIC ADAMS ON: Procurement and the advancement of the MWBE certification campaign within the city, but particularly my district. I will be the first Latina to represent my district, and I want that diversity reflected in the owners of businesses throughout my community as well. The aspiration is there, but I want to ensure that people are better informed of initiatives like MWBE and have access to these opportunities, including financial aid, which is why we need coordination with the Adams administration and other stakeholders to fix what is currently a disjointed program.
RECENT BILL WITH MOST POSITIVE IMPACT: Every single New Yorker’s life was impacted by the pandemic, and the COVID relief package the City Council passed worked to address many of the ways people were affected.
TV/STREAMING OBSESSION: “The House of Flowers”
Democrat, District 14
Predecessor: Fernando Cabrera (D)
GREW UP IN: Kingsbridge and University Heights, Bronx
CURRENT RESIDENCE: Fordham, Bronx
LAST JOB: Senior fellow, Pratt Center
TOP LEGISLATIVE PRIORITY: My legislative priorities will be anchored in building community wealth, including through creating and preserving more affordable housing with ownership opportunities, and protecting and empowering workers.
LOOKING FORWARD TO WORKING WITH: I am most excited to be working on a council that is majority women, majority people of color and with diverse vocational backgrounds.
WANT TO WORK WITH ERIC ADAMS ON: Achieving universal after-school programs would be transformational for communities. If we can put our children first in this way, we can create safe spaces for our youth and a reliable place for parents to know their children are safe while improving outcomes in our communities.
RECENT BILL WITH MOST POSITIVE IMPACT: 2020 was a difficult year for us, and the council worked hard to respond, expanding paid safe and sick leave and other worker protections, expanding our municipal safety nets through food provision, shelter and care. I think the expansion of outdoor dining will have a lasting positive impact on what New York City feels like on the ground on a day-to-day basis.
TV/STREAMING OBSESSION: “Shadow and Bone” and “The Nevers”
Democrat, District 16
Predecessor: Vanessa Gibson (D)
GREW UP IN: New York
CURRENT RESIDENCE: West Bronx, Bronx
LAST JOB: Department director at nonprofit
TOP LEGISLATIVE PRIORITY: Reforming the procurement process, baselining funding for nonprofits and enhancing youth development program throughout the city
LOOKING FORWARD TO WORKING WITH: Everyone
WANT TO WORK WITH ERIC ADAMS ON: Education and procurement reform
RECENT BILL WITH MOST POSITIVE IMPACT: N/A
TV/STREAMING OBSESSION: “Harlem” on Amazon Prime Video
Democrat, District 18
Predecessor: Rubén Díaz Sr. (D)
GREW UP IN: Soundview, Bronx
CURRENT RESIDENCE: Parkchester, Bronx
LAST JOB: Assistant director, Consortium for Worker Education
TOP LEGISLATIVE PRIORITY: I want to champion creating a government-led care infrastructure that ensures a comprehensive safety net for all families by guaranteeing universal family care, with paid and medical family leave, child care and universal long-term care.
LOOKING FORWARD TO WORKING WITH: I’m most looking forward to working with my colleagues whom I worked with previously at City Hall, like Crystal Hudson and Pierina Sanchez; and members I’ve been building with post-election like Chi Ossé and Julie Won.
WANT TO WORK WITH ERIC ADAMS ON: I hope to work closely with the Adams administration on transit accessibility by eliminating two-fare zones, expanding ferry access in the Bronx and finally working toward a long-term plan to create a transit line that connects the Bronx and Queens without required detours to Manhattan.
RECENT BILL WITH MOST POSITIVE IMPACT: Intro. 2330 requires (the) 311 customer service center to track complaints or requests for service it receives from all members of the public, including residents of NYCHA (New York City Housing Authority). This bill is important because it requires 311 to refer such complaints to NYCHA and to publish information relating to those complaints.
TV/STREAMING OBSESSION: I loved the new season of “Gentefied” on Netflix.
Republican, District 19
Predecessor: Paul Vallone (D)
GREW UP IN: Whitestone, Queens
CURRENT RESIDENCE: Whitestone, Queens
LAST JOB: CFO for JJ&J Custom Home
TOP LEGISLATIVE PRIORITY: Protect zoning for one- and two-family homes
LOOKING FORWARD TO WORKING WITH: I’m really looking forward to working with everyone.
WANT TO WORK WITH ERIC ADAMS ON: Refunding and supporting the NYPD.
RECENT BILL WITH MOST POSITIVE IMPACT: I have to focus instead on the bill with the greatest negative impact and that is Local Law 97 and the 2020 update that will massively increase the cost of living in the city and disproportionately on the middle class.
TV/STREAMING OBSESSION: “Blue Bloods”
Democrat, District 20
Predecessor: Peter Koo (D)
GREW UP IN: Flushing, Queens
CURRENT RESIDENCE: Flushing, Queens
LAST JOB: Senior advisor to Rep. Grace Meng
TOP LEGISLATIVE PRIORITY: Language justice
LOOKING FORWARD TO WORKING WITH: All of them!
WANT TO WORK WITH ERIC ADAMS ON: A Flushing service center to bring more resources into our immigrant community
RECENT BILL WITH MOST POSITIVE IMPACT: Intro. 146, which will increase the voucher rates to align with Section 8, helping tackle housing costs in New York City.
TV/STREAMING OBSESSION: “Downton Abbey”
Democrat, District 22
Predecessor: Costa Constantinides (D)
GREW UP IN: South Richmond Hill, Queens
CURRENT RESIDENCE: Astoria, Queens
LAST JOB: National political organizer for the Working Families Party and a public defense attorney before that.
TOP LEGISLATIVE PRIORITY: Before the end of this year, it is Our City, Our Vote. This bill would allow over 800,000 of our immigrant neighbors to vote in municipal elections. From there this list is long, but I will prioritize building on the legislation passed to protect workers throughout our city and move with urgency to pass legislation to help us mitigate the climate crisis and mandate solutions for a greener city.
LOOKING FORWARD TO WORKING WITH: Every member who is ready to throw down to improve the lives of our city's most vulnerable residents!
WANT TO WORK WITH ERIC ADAMS ON: Expanding the crisis management system. If it saves lives, it’s worth doing. We have an opportunity to scale services so folks experiencing mental health crises are met with care and compassion. We can prevent violence before it occurs and interrupt violence before it escalates by fully funding and scaling Cure Violence programs around the city.
RECENT BILL WITH MOST POSITIVE IMPACT: The Deliverista package is game-changing. The first laws of its kind in the country, it mandates better working conditions, protections and pay for New York City’s delivery workers.
TV/STREAMING OBSESSION: “Bob’s Burgers”
Democrat, District 23
Predecessor: Barry Grodenchik (D)
GREW UP IN: I was born in Elmira, New York, and moved to Albertson, New York, as a kid, where I grew up and went to school.
CURRENT RESIDENCE: Oakland Gardens, Queens
LAST JOB: President and CEO of Korean Community Services
TOP LEGISLATIVE PRIORITY: One of the top issues facing my district is the affordability of middle-class homeownership in New York City, particularly for seniors. I’d like to pursue a tax credit or at least a cap on property tax increases for retired seniors.
LOOKING FORWARD TO WORKING WITH: Nantasha Williams, we met during the campaign trail and will share a border that separates neighborhoods like Hollis and Queens Village.
WANT TO WORK WITH ERIC ADAMS ON: Improving the quality of school meals provided by the Department of Education.
RECENT BILL WITH MOST POSITIVE IMPACT: I personally love and appreciate Farah Louis’ bill to create an Office of Not-for-Profit Services in the city. As a social services provider for 12 years, I’ve seen how administrative costs and lack of knowledge regarding city contracting and budgeting processes hamper smaller community-based organizations from accessing the resources they need to be successful.
TV/STREAMING OBSESSION: “Veep”
Democrat, District 25
Predecessor: Daniel Dromm (D
GREW UP IN: Rockland County
CURRENT RESIDENCE: Jackson Heights, Queens
LAST JOB: Civil rights lawyer for housing justice
TOP LEGISLATIVE PRIORITY: Invest in recovery efforts for immigrant communities which COVID-19 exposed as fatally vulnerable from systemic inequalities.
LOOKING FORWARD TO WORKING WITH: Shahana Hanif. We both have the honor and privilege of making history as the first South Asians elected to the New York City Council and the obligation to fight for working-class and immigrant communities.
WANT TO WORK WITH ERIC ADAMS ON: Making the 34th Avenue open street in Jackson Heights a linear park
RECENT BILL WITH MOST POSITIVE IMPACT: Our City, Our Vote (Intro. 1867) – expected to pass in December.
TV/STREAMING OBSESSION: “The Last Dance” – the Michael Jordan documentary
Democrat, District 26
Predecessor: Jimmy Van Bramer (D
GREW UP IN: Seoul, South Korea and Queens
CURRENT RESIDENCE: Sunnyside, Queens
LAST JOB: Digital strategy consultant
TOP LEGISLATIVE PRIORITY: Closing the digital divide
LOOKING FORWARD TO WORKING WITH: Bob Holden, my neighbor
WANT TO WORK WITH ERIC ADAMS ON: Dignified and livable NYCHA (Queensbridge, Ravenswood, and Woodside Houses)
RECENT BILL WITH MOST POSITIVE IMPACT: Just cause termination and progressive discipline requirements for fast-food employers needs to be expanded to all industries.
TV/STREAMING OBSESSION: “Squid Game”
Democrat, District 27
Predecessor: I. Daneek Miller (D
GREW UP IN: Queens
CURRENT RESIDENCE: Cambria Heights, Queens
LAST JOB: Community relations and external affairs manager, JFK Redevelopment Program
TOP LEGISLATIVE PRIORITY: Amplifying community voices.
LOOKING FORWARD TO WORKING WITH: This is a tough question because I’ve genuinely enjoyed getting to know all of my colleagues, so I’m looking forward to working with everyone.
WANT TO WORK WITH ERIC ADAMS ON: Cryptocurrency
RECENT BILL WITH MOST POSITIVE IMPACT: Open restaurants program
TV/STREAMING OBSESSION: It’s always going to be “Law & Order: SVU.”
Democrat, District 29
Predecessor: Karen Koslowitz (D)
GREW UP IN: Forest Hills, Queens
CURRENT RESIDENCE: Forest Hills, Queens
LAST JOB: City Council speaker’s office
TOP LEGISLATIVE PRIORITY: Hospital capacity
LOOKING FORWARD TO WORKING WITH: Looking forward to working with everyone
WANT TO WORK WITH ERIC ADAMS ON: Hospital capacity and COVID-19 recovery
RECENT BILL WITH MOST POSITIVE IMPACT: Increasing rental vouchers for homeless
TV/STREAMING OBSESSION: Football
Republican, District 32
Predecessor: Eric Ulrich (R)
GREW UP IN: Howard Beach, Queens
CURRENT RESIDENCE: Howard Beach, Queens
LAST JOB: Director of intergovernmental affairs for Medisys Health Network
TOP LEGISLATIVE PRIORITY: Public safety and quality of life
LOOKING FORWARD TO WORKING WITH: Robert Holden
WANT TO WORK WITH ERIC ADAMS ON: Public safety
RECENT BILL WITH MOST POSITIVE IMPACT: Any bill that would reduce the impact of noise, loud mufflers on cars and illegal parking in communities.
TV/STREAMING OBSESSION: “Yellowstone”
Democrat, District 33
Predecessor: Stephen Levin (D)
GREW UP IN: Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn
CURRENT RESIDENCE: Greenpoint, Brooklyn
LAST JOB: Chief strategy officer, St. Nicks Alliance
TOP LEGISLATIVE PRIORITY: Tackling the climate crisis is the existential challenge of our time.
LOOKING FORWARD TO WORKING WITH: All of my colleagues :)
WANT TO WORK WITH ERIC ADAMS ON: Making high-quality, affordable fresh food available for low-income families across our district. Food = health.
RECENT BILL WITH MOST POSITIVE IMPACT: The expansion of the Climate Mobilization Act, Local Law 97, to ensure that most mixed-income buildings must comply with the law. Since buildings represent approximately 70% of emissions in New York City, we need large residential buildings to become more energy efficient to realize our climate goals. This bill will help us reduce emissions in New York City by 40% by 2030.
TV/STREAMING OBSESSION: “Only Murders in the Building” – even though it takes place in Manhattan. Amy Ryan does live in the 33rd!
Democrat, District 35
Predecessor: Laurie Cumbo (D)
GREW UP IN: Prospect Heights, Brooklyn
CURRENT RESIDENCE: Prospect Heights, Brooklyn
LAST JOB: Co-director of the community outreach unit at the City Council
TOP LEGISLATIVE PRIORITY: I will ensure that we are investing in our public hospital system and community health initiatives that serve communities with the greatest health disparities. We can address systemic inequities in health care that ravage our city, but only with systemic solutions.
LOOKING FORWARD TO WORKING WITH: I’m excited to work with my neighboring council members on projects across our districts, experienced lawmakers like Gale Brewer and Charles Barron and folks I’ve gotten to know over the past few months like Selvena Brooks-Powers and Linda Lee. If I had to pick just one, I’d say Charles.
WANT TO WORK WITH ERIC ADAMS ON: Curbing gun violence. While we may disagree on some things when it comes to policing and criminal justice, I believe we can work together in supporting community-led safety interventions like Cure Violence and ensuring intervention doesn’t have the possibility of lethal use of force.
RECENT BILL WITH MOST POSITIVE IMPACT: Intro. 1211, which requires developers who receive financial incentives from the city to set aside at least 15% of units to be offered to people experiencing homelessness.
TV/STREAMING OBSESSION: I’m really hoping for another season of “Luther”!
Democrat, District 36
Predecessor: Robert Cornegy Jr. (D
GREW UP IN: Crown Heights, Brooklyn
CURRENT RESIDENCE: Crown Heights, Brooklyn
LAST JOB: Nightlife promoter, DJ and freelancer
TOP LEGISLATIVE PRIORITY: A hard focus on sanitation and revolutionizing the containerization system in New York City, an emphasis on housing equity in a gentrifying historic Black district and improving opportunities for small businesses and employment.
LOOKING FORWARD TO WORKING WITH: Every. Single. One.
WANT TO WORK WITH ERIC ADAMS ON: Bike lanes and rodent abatement!
RECENT BILL WITH MOST POSITIVE IMPACT: A resolution urging the state Legislature to strip the NYPD commissioner of the final say in disciplinary cases. Though, more legislation is required to ensure transparency and adequate discipline. And, more importantly, this will allow victims of misconduct to find the justice they seek.
TV/STREAMING OBSESSION: “Succession”
Democrat, District 37
Predecessor: Darma Diaz (D)
GREW UP IN: Panama
CURRENT RESIDENCE: Bushwick, Brooklyn
LAST JOB: I was a carpenter, ran a youth nonprofit and was a community organizer.
TOP LEGISLATIVE PRIORITY: Ensuring housing for every New Yorker, pushing our public works systems are upgraded to meet the climate crisis and increasing public safety.
LOOKING FORWARD TO WORKING WITH: Ask me in six months.
WANT TO WORK WITH ERIC ADAMS ON: I share the mayor’s passion for healthy foods and good nutrition in preventing and treating chronic health issues, particularly in Black and brown working-class neighborhoods.
RECENT BILL WITH MOST POSITIVE IMPACT: Intro. 1947-A, which expands the carbon emissions mandates under Local Law 97.
TV/STREAMING OBSESSION: “Naruto” (A demand issued by my nephews that I watch it.)
Democrat, District 38
Predecessor: Carlos Menchaca (D)
GREW UP IN: East New York, Brooklyn
CURRENT RESIDENCE: Sunset Park, Brooklyn
LAST JOB: Program director, Scherman Foundation
TOP LEGISLATIVE PRIORITY: Equity in city services and budget justice
LOOKING FORWARD TO WORKING WITH: I’m looking forward to working with all the women incoming members from across the city – from Pierina Sanchez in the northwest Bronx to Nantasha Williams in southeast Queens – to get to know them better and bring a new approach to governing and policymaking.
WANT TO WORK WITH ERIC ADAMS ON: I hope we can address pressing health and environmental challenges brought by last-mile warehouses and other industries that negatively impact our communities, especially in waterfront communities.
RECENT BILL WITH MOST POSITIVE IMPACT: The council passed “just cause” legislation protecting fast-food workers from unreasonable termination in 2020. I’d like to see us pass “just cause” legislation on an even bigger, broader scale. Other important bills include limiting delivery app charges and extending COVID-19 relief to small businesses and outdoor dining.
TV/STREAMING OBSESSION: “You”
Democrat, District 39
Predecessor: Brad Lander (D)
GREW UP IN: Kensington, Brooklyn
CURRENT RESIDENCE: Kensington, Brooklyn
LAST JOB: Director of organizing and constituent engagement for Council Member Brad Lander
TOP LEGISLATIVE PRIORITY: Education. We need to desegregate our schools. Admissions screens are discriminatory and racist, and reinforce segregation. Desegregation doesn’t end with admissions. The City Council must remove police in schools, mandate culturally responsive pedagogy, retain teachers of color and create smaller class sizes.
LOOKING FORWARD TO WORKING WITH: I’m excited to work with Council Member-elect Alexa Avilés in the fight for school desegregation.
WANT TO WORK WITH ERIC ADAMS ON: I’m excited for the passage of Our City, Our Vote. Noncitizens should have the right to vote in city elections, and I’m proud Eric Adams has been a strong supporter.
RECENT BILL WITH MOST POSITIVE IMPACT: “Just cause!” Council Member Brad Lander passed “just cause” for fast food workers in December 2020. This kind of pro-worker legislation protects workers from being unjustly fired.
TV/STREAMING OBSESSION: “Squid Game”
Democrat, District 40
Predecessor: Mathieu Eugene (D)
GREW UP IN: I was born in Haiti and I grew up in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn.
CURRENT RESIDENCE: Flatbush, Brooklyn
LAST JOB: I’m a teacher at P.S. 6, right in the heart of Flatbush. During the primary election, when many candidates left their jobs to campaign full time, I stayed teaching.
TOP LEGISLATIVE PRIORITY: If the class size reduction bill (Intro. 2374-2021) doesn’t pass this session, I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure it passes once I’m sworn in. Additionally, New York City needs to make after-school programs available at all public schools (Intro. 1100-2018).
LOOKING FORWARD TO WORKING WITH: I’m really excited to work with my neighboring council members: Shahana Hanif, Crystal Hudson, Darlene Mealy, Farah Louis and Kalman Yeger.
WANT TO WORK WITH ERIC ADAMS ON: The mayor-elect has a bold plan to make dyslexia screening universal in our schools to help ensure that these students get the support they deserve.
RECENT BILL WITH MOST POSITIVE IMPACT: The expansion and extension of outdoor dining has been a godsend for our city’s restaurants and their employees.
TV/STREAMING OBSESSION: “Blood & Water” – it’s a 10 out of 10 edge of your seat drama!
Democrat, District 46
Predecessor: Alan Maisel (D
GREW UP IN: Saint-Marc, Haiti, (until 17), then Canarsie, Brooklyn
CURRENT RESIDENCE: Canarsie, Brooklyn
LAST JOB: Registered nurse and small-business owner
TOP LEGISLATIVE PRIORITY: Health care. Following the death and devastation seen during the pandemic, we must once and for all address health care equity and access to affordable care for all.
LOOKING FORWARD TO WORKING WITH: I am looking forward to working with any council member who wants to improve the quality of lives of all New Yorkers.
WANT TO WORK WITH ERIC ADAMS ON: I would like to partner with Mayor-elect Adams on a plan to establish community health centers in every NYCHA development in the five boroughs. Residents of NYCHA suffer from great health care disparities and often do not even have a primary care doctor to adequately address health care needs or practice preventative care. This must change.
RECENT BILL WITH MOST POSITIVE IMPACT: Intro. 1668-A, which will greatly improve access to health care across the city, particularly for immigrants and undocumented residents who need it most.
TV/STREAMING OBSESSION: “Succession” and “The Blacklist”
Democrat, District 47
Predecessor: Mark Treyger (D)
GREW UP IN: Minsk, Belarus
CURRENT RESIDENCE: Gravesend, Brooklyn
LAST JOB: Director of district operations for Council Member Mark Treyger
TOP LEGISLATIVE PRIORITY: Post-pandemic recovery and economic development
LOOKING FORWARD TO WORKING WITH: Eric Dinowitz
WANT TO WORK WITH ERIC ADAMS ON: Restoring gifted and talented program
RECENT BILL WITH MOST POSITIVE IMPACT: Bill that protected a COVID-19 impacted business from harassment for not being able to pay the commercial rent.
TV/STREAMING OBSESSION: “Shark Tank”
Republican, District 48
Predecessor: Chaim Deutsch (D)
GREW UP IN: Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn
CURRENT RESIDENCE: Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn
LAST JOB: I am an attorney with my own firm.
TOP LEGISLATIVE PRIORITY: Ensuring that personal freedoms are not infringed upon.
LOOKING FORWARD TO WORKING WITH: Minority Leader Joe Borelli
WANT TO WORK WITH ERIC ADAMS ON: Law and order – keeping our streets safe for New Yorkers.
RECENT BILL WITH MOST POSITIVE IMPACT: There are several bills that focused on assisting small businesses in recovering from COVID that were/are important for the city to thrive.
TV/STREAMING OBSESSION: “Terrorism Close Calls”
Democrat, District 49
Predecessor: Deborah Rose (D)
GREW UP IN: Park Hill, Staten Island
CURRENT RESIDENCE: Stapleton, Staten Island
LAST JOB: Founder and executive director, YouthBuild Staten Island
TOP LEGISLATIVE PRIORITY: My priorities are restoring public safety, improving public transportation and creating jobs. I will work to develop a master plan for the North Shore of Staten Island.
LOOKING FORWARD TO WORKING WITH: I’m looking forward to working with all of my council member colleagues.
WANT TO WORK WITH ERIC ADAMS ON: Public safety
RECENT BILL WITH MOST POSITIVE IMPACT: The strengthening of the Climate Mobilization Act
TV/STREAMING OBSESSION: “The Bureau” on Sundance
Republican, District 50
Predecessor: Steven Matteo (R)
GREW UP IN: Grasmere, Staten Island
CURRENT RESIDENCE: Grasmere, Staten Island
LAST JOB: Chief of staff to Minority Leader Steven Matteo
TOP LEGISLATIVE PRIORITY: Restoring qualified immunity to our police officers
LOOKING FORWARD TO WORKING WITH: Joe Borelli
WANT TO WORK WITH ERIC ADAMS ON: Restoring and expanding Gifted & Talented opportunities.
RECENT BILL WITH MOST POSITIVE IMPACT: Local Law 57 of 2020, authored by Minority Leader Matteo, waived licensing and registration renewals for small businesses mid-pandemic. This typifies the kind of pro-business legislation that should be the default norm for government to enact.
TV/STREAMING OBSESSION: “Arcane”
SECOND TIME ON THE COUNCIL
Democrat, District 6
Predecessor: Helen Rosenthal (D)
GREW UP IN: Boston, Massachusetts
CURRENT RESIDENCE: Upper West Side, Manhattan
LAST JOB: Manhattan borough president
TOP LEGISLATIVE PRIORITY: Budget oversight and units of appropriation
LOOKING FORWARD TO WORKING WITH: Erik Bottcher
WANT TO WORK WITH ERIC ADAMS ON: Affordable housing
RECENT BILL WITH MOST POSITIVE IMPACT: Local Law 97
TV/STREAMING OBSESSION: NY1’s Errol Louis
Democrat, District 42
Predecessor: Inez Barron (D)
GREW UP IN: Lower East Side/Lillian Wald Houses, Manhattan
CURRENT RESIDENCE: East New York, Brooklyn
LAST JOB: Assembly member
TOP LEGISLATIVE PRIORITY: Rule changes that give council members more power to prioritize the needs of the people over sucking up to the speaker and the mayor for personal gain.
LOOKING FORWARD TO WORKING WITH: I want to work with the majority of the council members in order to eradicate poverty, unemployment, homelessness, mass incarceration and a myriad of social illnesses! Ultimately, revolution is the solution!
WANT TO WORK WITH ERIC ADAMS ON: We must stop Mayor Adams from turning our Black and brown communities into a police state, controlled by the racist NYPD/PBA. Economic development, not police containment, is what our communities need to combat crime.
RECENT BILL WITH MOST POSITIVE IMPACT: Council Member Inez’s environmental justice legislation. I don’t know what year it was passed, but it was the most progressive piece of legislation in the country combating environmental racism and promoting environmental justice.
TV/STREAMING OBSESSION: I have no TV obsession!
DID NOT RESPOND
Democrat, District 1
Predecessor: Margaret Chin (D)
Taking over Margaret Chin’s Lower East Side district is Christopher Marte, who, after a brief stint in finance, served as the state director at Arena, the organization geared at electing Democrats to office. Marte campaigned on local issues, such as opposing the SoHo/NoHo rezoning and opposing the creation of new jails as part of the plan to close Rikers – including a proposed jail in Chinatown.
Democrat, District 34
Predecessor: Antonio Reynoso (D)
Jennifer Gutiérrez is entering the council with some experience working for the people of Bushwick, Ridgewood and Williamsburg, having served as chief of staff to outgoing District 34 Council Member Antonio Reynoso. The daughter of Colombian immigrants, Gutiérrez campaigned on increasing language access and extending housing vouchers to undocumented immigrants. (Editor’s note: Gutiérrez had just had a baby when City & State sent this survey.)
Democrat, District 41
Predecessor: Alicka Ampry-Samuel (D)
One of several veterans returning to the council, Darlene Mealy is taking a second run at representing the 41st City Council district in Brooklyn, having served as its member from 2006 to 2017. (She was not, however, known as a prolific legislator.) Mealy nonetheless campaigned on her prior work in the council, which included a stint as chair of the Committee on Contracts, where she said she focused on helping minority- and women-owned businesses get government work.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that this class includes the City Council's first Muslim member. Shahana Hanif is the first Muslim woman elected to the council.