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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Republicans increase seats on NYC Council

Republicans increased their seats on the New York City Council in the municipal elections of November 3, 2009. They will have five seats in the up-coming council when the 51 seat body commences its new term in 2010, an increase from the current three seats.

Traditionally, Republican seats on the council have been from Staten Island, central Queens (neighborhoods such as Middle Village) and southwestern Queens (areas such as Ozone Park and Howard Beach). In this election Peter Koo (District 20) is adding Flushing to that small number of neighborhoods represented by Republicans. News accounts have focused on his ethnicity. But they have ignored that he is a Republican; this is in contrast to other successful Chinese-American politicians (John Liu and Margaret Chin) in the city, who have up to this point won as Democrats. Another neighborhood in which a Republican is replacing a Democrat is Bayside. In this district Dan Halloran (District 19) is succeeding Tony Avella, who made an unsuccessful run for mayor in the primary this September 15. Republicans re-elected to the council this year are: Eric Ulrich (District 32), James Oddo (District 50), Vincent Ignizio (District 51).

A vacancy was also filled in the election. Miguel Martinez (District 10 in Washington Heights) resigned he seat earlier this year in a taint from corruption. He is succeeded by Ydanis Rodriguez. Like Martinez, he is one of the first elected members of local government originating from a Dominican-American heritage. The "Daily News" reported that "White City Council members the minority for first time ever after Tuesday elections". The News also noted that the council will also have the first two openly gay men from Queens (and I believe from the outer boroughs), Daniel Dromm (District 25) and Jimmy Van Bramer (District 26).

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