The Mighty Quinn A Look at the New City Council Speaker

Considering that she’s still a few months away from turning 40, Christine Quinn, Speaker of the New York City Council, has achieved a great deal in politics and is thought of as the second most powerful figure in city government, after the mayor himself.

Quinn, a Democrat, first entered the council in 1999, and battled Brooklyn Councilman Bill de Blasio for the speaker seat. Quinn was elected speaker in January of this year by a wide margin, replacing former speaker Gifford Miller. Quinn, the first woman and first openly gay councilperson to be elected speaker, joked about the enormity if the position on the day she took office.

“It’s completely daunting and overwhelming to the verge of nausea,” Quinn joked on that day to the media. “But that’s OK, because it should be. It’s that big of a job.”

The Road to Speaker

Christine Quinn was born into a typical Irish family in Glen Cove, Long Island. Her father was an electrical engineer and a shop steward for Local 44 of the International Union of Electrical Workers. Her late mother was a social worker for Catholic Charities. Quinn has often said that growing up in her house, political discussions were commonplace around the dinner table, and serving and helping people were family priorities. Growing up, Quinn was always interested in learning about government.

“The only thing I was ever interested in was politics,” Quinn told the Daily News this past January. “I would go to the library and always take out biographies on political people.”

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