Heard Around Town

Amanda Farías’ historic appointment as New York City Council majority leader gets promoted a week late

The delay comes after the news was overshadowed by the sudden demotion of her predecessor in the role, Council Member Keith Powers.

Council Member Amanda Farías

Council Member Amanda Farías John McCarten/NYC Council Media Unit

Have you heard that New York City Council Member Amanda Farías has been named the council’s new majority leader? The Bronx council member’s supporters want to make sure you do.

City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams announced Farías’ new position last week, ahead of the council’s first meeting of the year. It’s a historic appointment – Farías is the first Latina majority leader in City Council history – but the news was somewhat overshadowed by the surprise demotion of Council Member Keith Powers, the previous majority leader. A close ally of Speaker Adams, Powers reportedly only learned that he was being replaced by Farías one hour before the announcement. Speculation ran rampant as to why Powers was unceremoniously dismissed from his position.

Farías’ staff wanted to make sure that the new majority leader got her due. On Tuesday, six days after the appointment was first announced, the council member’s office sent out a press release containing quotes from 52 different people congratulating Farías on her promotion. The well-wishers included 19 of her City Council colleagues (though not Powers), eight state legislators, seven labor leaders, the borough presidents of both the Bronx (which Farías represents) and Queens (which she does not) and the leaders of nonprofits ranging from the Working Families Party to the New York Botanical Garden.

In addition, Farías’ communications director and representatives of three nonprofits that have worked with the council member all coincidentally emailed City & State editors to suggest Farías be considered for the magazine’s weekly Winners & Losers column. (For the record, Farías won’t qualify for this week’s column since her appointment happened last week.)

“I received so much excitement and people wanting to see how they can be supportive,” Farías told City & State when asked about the delayed press rollout. “Initially, our gut reaction was just to go out there and put out a statement of excitement and thanks to the speaker, but what it showed is the outpouring of support meant I probably needed to give people a little more time.”

Farías also felt that the initial wave of coverage of the majority leader shake-up failed to note the importance of Latino representation in city government. “I do think there could have been a different shift in (framing about) what the appointment meant to the city, to the huge Latino communities throughout New York City, even for the Bronx, as having now a leadership position in the City Council,” she said. “I think it says a lot about how media chooses to portray certain situations or women or even Latinx representation.”

Speaker Adams has said that she decided to appoint Farías to the position because she represents the future of the council. Farías was elected in 2021 and will be eligible to serve until 2029, while both her predecessor Powers and Adams herself were first elected in 2017 and will be term-limited out in 2025.

As majority leader, Farías will get to preside over the City Council’s stated meetings – which she is particularly excited about. “For me, (that) is probably the most enticing part,” she said. “I'm very type-A. I'm very protocol driven. I've been a parliamentarian in my past life in my sorority. So I'm very familiar with Robert's Rules.”

Her appointment may have been lost in the news last week, but from now on, the spotlight will be on Farías.