Category Archives: Steven Matteo

Republican Council Members Discuss Speaker Selection



On Wednesday evening Melissa Mark-Viverito released a statement listing 30 council members supporting her bid to be city council speaker.  Only one Republican appears in the group of 30, Eric Ulrich of Queens.

Ulrich’s declaration of support is notable for two reasons.  First, in November he reacted harshly to the prospect of Mark-Viverito becoming speaker.  Ulrich was reacting to news reports of Mark-Viverito’s “reluctance to stand and recite the pledge of allegiance.”  His criticism was broader, however, saying “I don’t believe that she can be an effective counterweight to the mayor” and characterizing a Mark-Viverito speakership as a “disaster.”  Second, in November Ulrich also said that he expected to vote as a bloc, albeit a small one, with the two other Republicans in the new council.  He now appears to be the only Republican supporting Mark-Viverito, however.

Eric Ulrich

Here’s full video of Ulrich’s discussion with reporters this evening, following the final city council meeting of the current session.


Steve Matteo

We also spoke with Steve Matteo, Council Member-elect from Staten Island, who said that he was “disappointed” by Ulrich’s decision to split from his fellow Republicans and support Mark-Viverito.  Matteo also suggested that Mark-Viverito’s selection is far from settled, characterizing the selection process as “in the third quarter of a football game.”


(In November, we spoke with Matteo and Council Member Vincent Ignizio, also from Staten Island and the third Republican in the new council, about the speaker’s race.  Those interviews are here.)

Speaker Selection: The Staten Island Bipartisan Edition (Updated x 2)



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 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.