Tonight the speaker candidate forum road show rolled out to Staten Island, with the seven publicly declared contenders appearing together for the sixth, and presumably final, time. For the first time, Republican council members joined as hosts. Ben Max, of DecideNYC.com, moderated.
Three of the 51 incoming City Council members will be Republicans, with two of those three representing Staten Island. So few in number that they have virtually no influence simply through their numbers, the Republican council members nonetheless have managed to succeed and maintain a presence exceeding what their tiny minority would be expected to generate. In the selection of the next speaker, they may well be irrelevant. If, however, the selection is a close race decided by a floor vote the three Republicans could be a meaningful bloc.
After tonight’s forum we spoke with Vincent Ignizio, a Republican council member just elected to his third term, about the role, if any, that council Republicans may play in the selection and about his view of the race.
Update – Steven Matteo:
We also spoke with Steven Matteo, Staten Island’s second Republican member of the city council. I began by asking Matteo for his reaction to the speaker candidate public forums.
Update #2 – Debi Rose:
We spoke with Debi Rose, Staten Island’s sole Democratic member of the City Council. Rose described her high regard for many of the speaker aspirants and lamented the challenge of choosing among them. The public forums have caused to Rose to expand the list of candidates that she personally is open to, although she notes that she is committed to voting with the “Progressive Bloc.” We also discussed the Progressive Bloc’s timing and the reaction of council members not part of the Progressive Bloc as the Bloc has organized itself.
Be sure to watch our coverage of all five prior forums, held in Manhattan at the Talking Transition Tent and Baruch College, in Brooklyn, the Bronx and Jackson Heights. Our coverage includes conversations with many council members/member-elects about the selection process, including, in addition to Ignizio, Matteo and Rose, Corey Johnson, Karen Koslowitz, Andrew Cohen, Brad Lander, Carlos Menchaca, Ritchie Torrres and Helen Rosenthal.