Today, Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo was appointed as the first woman of color to serve as Majority Leader of the New York City Council during the Stated Meeting.
This major step forward is a culmination of her year-round advocacy to increase the representation of women in City Hall and their participation in key decisions that will dictate the future course of the 51-member legislative body. Her legislative victories include the expansion of paid family leave and universal pre-K, raising the minimum wage, protecting reproductive rights and fighting for this city’s LBGTQIA and non-confirming citizens, requiring sexual educational reform in New York City public schools, championing gender pay equity through the codification of the NYC Commission on Gender Equity, increased transparency and accountability procedures to support and highlight opportunities to advance minority and women-owned business enterprises (M/WBEs) and freelancers, advanced anti-gun violence reforms by working with colleagues to create the first Mayor’s Office to Prevent Gun Violence and improved protections for survivors of domestic or gender-based violence.
“I have spent the greater part of my first term in office advocating that ‘women’s issues’ are human rights issues. My colleague, who would often express the same sentiment, is Speaker Corey Johnson. He has been uniquely positioned to understand the interwoven relationship of our community’s greatest opportunities to solve and put forward positive solutions that lift all people. When we raise the voices and issues that so many have deemed women’s issues, we are lifting everyone,” said Council Member and Majority Leader Laurie A. Cumbo, who formerly served as chair of the Committee on Women’s Issues during her freshman term and currently co-chairs the Women’s Caucus.
“Council Member Cumbo is a passionate advocate for women and for all New Yorkers. I am thrilled that she will bring her energy and commitment to the role of Majority Leader, as the Council expands our oversight responsibilities and continues to address critical issues facing New Yorkers across the five boroughs. I thank Majority Leader Cumbo and look forward to working with her and all of my colleagues this session,” said Council Speaker Corey Johnson.
During the next four years, Council Member Cumbo will play a pivotal role in guiding the borough delegations and caucuses, particularly during the budget process; securing additional Council funding for schools; empowering young women and girls as future leaders; expanding access for youth of all backgrounds to a globally competitive curriculum that incorporates science, technology, education, arts, and mathematics (S.T.E.A.M./S.T.E.M.); increasing opportunities for our M/WBEs, fighting for greater affordable housing and ensuring women have a seat at the table to bring forth issues that not only affect women and families, but everyday people.
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“I am deeply honored and grateful for the opportunity to serve as Majority Leader of the New York City Council. I want to thank my colleagues for their trust and confidence in my ability to represent and lead the ruling majority of this dynamic legislative body in supporting our Speaker as we continue to build upon our legacy of efficiency and effectiveness. As we embark upon our first or consecutive term in office, I look forward to the groundbreaking work that we will undertake in the next four years to advance legislation and fund projects, programs, and organizations that will create a better city for all New Yorkers. We have been called to advocate on behalf of our constituents, many of whom are facing unprecedented challenges during one of the most precarious times in our nation’s history. From economic and cultural development to equity in gender, education and housing, we must reform existing policies or practices to bridge the gap between local government and its citizens,” continued Council Member and Majority Leader Cumbo.
Mary Pinkett and Public Advocate Letitia James was the first black woman elected to the City Council and a citywide office, respectively.
She currently represents the 35th Council District in Brooklyn, a seat that was formerly held by women of color who were trailblazers in public service. Mary Pinkett and Public Advocate Letitia James was the first black woman elected to the City Council and a citywide office, respectively.
“Council Member Laurie Cumbo has proven herself as a fighter for her community and the City — and she has the tenacity, experience, and dedication to be our Majority Leader. I have been proud to work together to ensure equal pay for equal work is a reality, to protect affordable housing, and to keep our streets safe from violence. I look forward to continuing to work with Council Member Cumbo to ensure our City is a brighter place for all New Yorkers,” said Public Advocate Letitia James.
As we commemorate the centennial of women’s suffrage in New York State, the inclusion of women in shaping public policy is paramount to advancing gender equity. Under the leadership of newly-elected Speaker Corey Johnson, all members of the Women’s Caucus were designated committees and appointments that will have oversight on city agencies and operations.
“I wholeheartedly congratulate Council Member Cumbo on her election as Majority Leader. As colleagues in the Council and as co-chairs of the Women’s Caucus for the past two years, I have seen her tireless work to elevate women’s voices and to represent for her community. As Laurie likes to say, ‘All issues are women’s issues,’ and I know she will use that perspective to fight to make New York City a better place, said Council Member Helen Rosenthal, Women’s Issues Committee Chair and co-Chair of the Women’s Caucus.
“Women represent the largest demographic within the City of New York and their voices should never be silenced, but welcomed at the table throughout the legislative session. As the Women’s Caucus of the City Council, we will continue to connect, collaborate, empathize, imagine and communicate. Our perspective as mothers and caregivers will inform both district and legislative priorities that we must endeavor to put at the forefront for the betterment of the next generation, women, and the city in general,” concluded Cumbo.
New York represents a melting pot of languages, cultures, and religions. It is our unique identity that has enabled us to evolve into a progressive and inclusive city. Under the leadership of our new Speaker, we will continue to uphold the tenets outlined as a city for all people and to specifically support the individuals that have traditionally been overlooked.
New York City Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo represents the 35th District, which covers Bedford-Stuyvesant, Clinton Hill, Crown Heights, Fort Greene and Prospect Heights. She currently serves as the Majority Leader; is a member of the Committees on Cultural Affairs, Finance, Higher Education, Public Housing, and Women’s Issues; co-chairs the Women’s Caucus; is a member of the Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus as well as the Jewish Caucus.
Via New York City Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo, council.nyc.gov/district-35/
Editor’s note: We look forward to working with New York City Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo in the best interest of Harlem in the near future.