Brooklyn Council Member Jumaane D. Williams on Wednesday faced off with seven other candidates at the New York Athletic Club in Midtown in the first public forum in the race for city council speaker.
Williams, who represents the 45th Council District in Brooklyn, and the other candidates discussed a wide range of issues facing the city.
“We are at a time where you need leadership that’s going to be bold,” said Williams, the son of Grenadian immigrants, adding he was “battle-tested, collaborative, and the right person for what we need right now.”
On the council’s relationship to the mayor and the council’s ability to move difficult bills forward, Williams said: “I do not think that we have yet reached our potential as a body. What I would like to do is build on what this speaker has been able to accomplish.
“And from what I hear from my colleagues, really push this council to be that independent voice that we know we can be and that the city expects us to be,” he added.
Williams said he is “the perfect example of being independent, being strong, being not afraid to push, and also being productive,” stating that he has the most bills passed of all of the members of the council, except the speaker.
“I’ve been able to accomplish that because you push when you need to, and you pull back when you need to, and that’s what leadership is,” he said. “As a leader, you have to know how to get things done. But you can’t shirk the courage that you need to push forward.”