BY SHANE MILLER
PHOTO: CITY COUNCIL PRESS
Before she was elected to represent the people of District 28 in Southeast Queens, Adrienne Adams had never stepped foot in the City Council chambers. Her first time inside was her first day on the job.
“I remember it like it was yesterday, I was looking at a distance at Melissa Mark-Viverito, who was the speaker when I came in,” Adams recalled. “I was looking at her face, and all of a sudden I looked up and got a chill and my spirit just said, ‘you’re home.’”
That was in 2017. Fast-forward to 2022 and Adams doesn’t just serve in the City Council, she leads it as the first African-American woman to serve as Speaker and the first from from Queens since Peter Vallone, Sr.
She says the possibility of running for speaker herself came quickly into her first term. Mark-Viverito’s term was coming to an end and her vote was being courted by colleagues looking to replace her, a process Adams would become all-too-familiar with last December.
“I was getting to know these candidates and they were all men, about six men running, and I remember thinking, ‘wow, there are no women running for speaker,’” Adams told This Is Queensborough during a recent interview at the Joseph P. Addabbo Family Health Center in Jamaica. “What’s wrong with this picture?”
At the time, there were only 11 women serving in the City Council. Today, 31 of the 51 members are women. That is more then double the number of women that served in the City Council before the November election, and gives women the majority for the first time in the council’s history.
Adams believes women govern differently than men, and says under her leadership the City Council will have a more holistic approach to serving the people of the five boroughs.
“There is a majority of women in New York City, and we represent that,” Adams said. “We are going to bring a prioritization of family, education, health care, and senior care.”