Adrienne Adams ‘clinches’ Council Speaker race, this time Moya concedes

Queens Rally and Press Conference in Solidarity with George Floyd and Black Lives
City Councilwoman Adrienne Adams delivers remarks at Queens Borough Hall. (Photo by Gabriele Holtermann)

City Councilwoman Adrienne Adams declared victory Friday, Dec. 17 in the race for City Council Speaker for the second time this week — but this time she named 33 members who have committed their support or released statements backing her candidacy.

On Tuesday, both Adams and fellow Queens City Councilman Francisco Moya both claimed they had strong enough coalitions of support to lay claim to the speakership.

If the numbers hold up, Adams will lead a history-making City Council with a majority of women serving on the Council for the first time. She will assume office on Jan. 5 at the first Stated Meeting in the next session of the City Council.

“I am honored to have earned the support and the trust of my colleagues to be their Speaker,” Adams said. “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.”

This time, Moya conceded the race to Adams.

“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,” Moya said. “At this point, it is clear that I do not have a path to victory. I have worked alongside Councilmember Adrienne Adams for many years. She is a dedicated and thoughtful leader who I know will work closely with all council members. I will fully support her leadership as we continue to fight the devastation of the pandemic.”

Mayor-elect Eric Adams, who reportedly pushed Moya’s candidacy, offered congratulations to his former classmate at Bayside High School.

“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. I look forward to working with her in partnership,” Adams wrote on Twitter. “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.”

A lifelong resident of Southeast Queens, the 61-year-old Adams was raised in Hollis and was elected to the Council in November 2017, becoming the first woman elected to represent District 28, which is made up of parts of Jamaica, Richmond Hill, Rochdale Village and South Ozone Park.

When she first declared victory in the race on Tuesday, fellow Speaker candidates Diana Ayala, Keith Powers, Justin Brannan and Manhattan Borough President and Councilwoman-elect Gale Brewer all put their support behind Adams. Now they’ve been joined by Carlina Rivera, who also campaigned for Speaker, along with ten Council Members who will represent Queens.

“Today I add my voice to the growing chorus of my colleagues in support of Councilmember Adrienne Adams’ bid to serve as the Council’s next Speaker,” Councilwoman-elect Tiffany Cabán said. “She has shown herself to be committed to open, thoughtful, and respectful communication with new members. I am ready to get to work with her on shared priorities like guaranteeing rights for workers. The new Council’s first collective decision shows that we are not here to simply rubber-stamp the mayor’s priorities, but to protect the interests of our constituents.”

Influential New York City unions threw their support behind Adams including 32BJ SEIU, District Council 37 and CWA District 1.

“The city has been ravaged by the pandemic, and if we want a worker-led recovery, we need a Council Speaker who is up to the task,” 32BJ resident Kyle Bragg said. “Adrienne Adams is a proven leader and a fighter for the working people and I am proud to support her. This moment provides us with a unique opportunity to rebuild the economy by centering the needs of workers, building paths to the middle class for families, and making our city more equitable.”

After decades of public service and community organizing, Adam will be the first Black speaker in Council history.

“I want to thank the Council members, labor and party leaders, women’s groups, and everyone in our broad coalition for their support,” Adams 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 community.”