WOMEN SHAPING HISTORY 2012:
Christine Quinn: City Council Speaker
What inspired you to pursue your current career?
Growing up, I was only interested in one thing –government and politics – my father always said it was my curse. At the library, I would only check out biographies of important leaders or important women. This gave me, from a very young age, a real sense of the potential that government has to make people’s lives better.
What are some of the challenges you have faced and how did you resolve them?
I’ve encountered many challenges but if I have learned anything from my experience as Speaker thus far, I have learned that any woman has the opportunity and ability to create her own standing in this world.
What are some of the accomplishments you’re proudest of?
From my position as Speaker of the City Council I am right in the middle of the challenges that the rapid acceleration of development brings along with it. There are many things that I can say that I’m proud that the Council has worked on but some that come to mind are passing legislation requiring pregnancy centers to disclose their services in order to better inform women of what they’re being offered. We’ve worked with non-profit groups in helping provide free mammograms for underinsured or non-insured women. We are currently working with Public/Private partnerships in order to effect positive change for New Yorkers, especially in our schools where last summer we reopened a playground in the Bronx and repaired a school tennis court in Brooklyn. We are also proud to have worked with Governor Cuomo in getting same sex marriage legislation passed last year. These are some of the many things we’ve been able to achieve by the collaborative efforts of legislative leaders and the community.
Who have been the most influential mentors in your life?
My parents, influential female leaders
What would you describe as a turning point in your life?
Six years ago, I was elected Speaker of the New York City Council, and I consider myself extraordinarily fortunate to have this chance to help make people’s lives better. And as Speaker, and as a councilwoman before that, and as a political organizer before that, I come into the office every day with the goal of improving our city for the 8.3 million people who call it home. One of the most frequent questions I get is, “what is it like being Speaker of the City Council as a woman?” I have to confess, that I really don’t dwell on it that much. My focus is on being the best leader I can, helping all New Yorkers as best I can, and installing a sound political mechanism that will guarantee responsible government, no matter who is in office, for years to come.
What are your future goals?
As Speaker of the Council, my goal is to continue the work I was elected to do and that is to serve the 8.3 million people in New York City. #