Whites Now Minority in City Council

Margaret Chin

Margaret Chin

While most people were focused on the surprisingly close mayoral election between Mike Bloomberg and Bill Thompson the New York City Council was making history as white council members became the minority for the very first time.

The election of Debi Rose, the first ever African-American woman to be elected in Staten Island, and Margaret Chin, the first ever Chinese-American representative of Chinatown, means that when the City Council begins its new term in January, 27 of the Council’s 51 seats will be held by minorities.

The 2009 election also featured the election of two gay politicians from Queens being elected to the Council.

With this historic election the City Council has begun to look more like the city that it represents. According to government estimates only 35% of New York City’s population is white while 28% is Hispanic, 24% is black, and 12% is Asian.

Both candidates were Democrats and join an overwhelmingly Democratic City Council. Of the 51 seats, 47 are held by Democrats, one is held by a member of the Working Families Party, and only three are held by Republicans.

Though the Council may be left leaning they have to work with an extremely powerful mayor whose political ideology is all over the map.

The 2009 election also saw the election of John Liu to the office of City Comptroller making him the first ever Asian-American to hold a citywide position. The previous Comptroller, Bill Thompson, was African-American.

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