Council Speaker Christine Quinn in her City Hall office. | DONNA ACETO
In a January 17 press release, the Empire State Pride Agenda’s political action committee announced its endorsement of City Council Speaker Christine Quinn as New York’s next mayor.
The release said the group “recognizes Christine Quinn’s unmatched record on LGBT rights over the last two decades,” including her leadership of the New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project, her efforts to ensure HIV/ AIDS services on the City Council, and her role in pressing for the enactment of marriage equality in 2011.
“Christine Quinn is a leader who knows how to get things done, and she has a record of hard-fought wins for the LGBT community –– and all New Yorkers,” said Nathan M. Schaefer, executive director of the Pride Agenda. “Christine Quinn is a leader whose grit and heart has made an unmistakable difference in the fight for LGBT equality.”
Schaefer also noted that as “speaker, the second most powerful job in New York City,” Quinn “balanced budgets while protecting crucial services.” The speaker, he said, “advocated for meaningful reforms in public education.”
If elected, Quinn would be the city’s first out lesbian or gay mayor, as well as the first woman to hold the job.
The Pride Agenda release also mentioned her role on the Council in passing “laws ensuring dignity and protections against bullying for all students.” As sponsor of the Dignity for All Schools bill, Quinn successfully pushed the Council to override Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s veto of that legislation, but when the state’s highest court ruled against the Council’s authority on another measure enacted over the mayor’s veto, Quinn decided not to file suit against the city for its refusal to implement the bullying measure.
Quinn then worked with the Department of Education to implement a different anti-bullying program, while the State Legislature passed the Dignity for All Students Act, signed by then-Governor David Paterson.
Quinn faces a Democratic primary where she will face-off against Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, former City Comptroller William C. Thompson, the 2009 Democratic mayoral nominee, and current Comptroller John Liu. The early leader in public opinion polls, Quinn has raised $6.2 million, versus $3.5 million for de Blasio, her nearest rival, though the public advocate bested her by nearly $300,000 in the six months that ended last week.