You would think that trying to get to know the city's first female Speaker, Christine Quinn, would be difficult when you've only been granted ten minutes in the demanding politician's day. However, in such a short timeframe, Quinn has enough time to come across as focused, passionate, confident and proud of her achievements since taking office in January 2006. She also readily admits and recognizes the challenges that she still faces, especially on the topic of affordable housing.
Her political career is one that she's been prepping for since she was a young child. Growing up in Glen Cove, Long Island, Quinn was more interested in reading biographies on famous politicians than novels or comic books, and she knew that politics was her calling.
"It was the only thing I was ever interested in; I don't remember wanting to do anything else," she says. "The people involved were fascinating and interesting characters. I read biographies and books on history and how it got made and who made it."
Quinn served as representative for the 3rd Council District of Manhattan from 1999 to 2006. She has also served as chief of staff to Council Member Thomas K. Duane and worked as executive director of the New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project.
Today, she's diligently working to carve her own place in New York political history, starting with being the first woman, who is also openly gay, as city speaker. In her February state-of-the-city address, Quinn quotes one of America's greatest ballplayers, the Brooklyn Dodgers' Jackie Robinson, and says, "A life isn't significant except for its impact on other lives."