Christine Quinn

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Christine Quinn
Christine Quinn VF 2012 Shankbone.JPG
Quinn at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival
Speaker of the New York City Council
In office
January 1, 2006 – December 31, 2013
Preceded by Gifford Miller
Succeeded by Melissa Mark-Viverito
Member of the New York City Council from the 3rd district
In office
November 2, 1999 – December 31, 2013
Preceded by Thomas K. Duane
Succeeded by Corey Johnson
Constituency Manhattan: Chelsea, Greenwich Village, Midtown West, Times Square area
Personal details
Born Christine Callaghan Quinn
(1966-07-25) July 25, 1966 (age 48)
Glen Cove, New York
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Kim Catullo (2012-present)
Residence Chelsea, New York City
Alma mater Trinity College
Website Quinn for New York

Christine Callaghan Quinn (born July 25, 1966) is an American politician. A member of the Democratic Party, she formerly served as the Speaker of the New York City Council. The third person to hold this office, she is the first female and first openly gay speaker.[1][2] As City Council speaker, Quinn was New York City's second most powerful public servant, behind the mayor. She ran to succeed Michael Bloomberg as the city's mayor in the 2013 mayoral election, but she came in third in the Democratic primary.

Early life, education, and early political career[edit]

Quinn was born in Glen Cove, New York, one of two daughters of Mary (née Callaghan) and Lawrence Quinn.[3] Her mother died of breast cancer in 1982. She went to School of the Holy Child in Old Westbury and graduated from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut in 1988.[4]

She served as head of the Housing Justice Campaign for the Association of Neighborhood and Housing Development. She entered politics to manage the City Council campaign of Thomas Duane in 1991, after which she was Duane's chief of staff for five years. She later became the executive director of the New York City Anti-Violence Project, and was appointed a member of the NYC Police/Community Relations Task Force by then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani.[5]

New York City Council[edit]

Pre-Speaker[edit]

The 3rd district covers the Manhattan neighborhoods Chelsea, Greenwich Village, and Hell's Kitchen, as well as parts of SoHo and Murray Hill. In 1999, she ran for the New York City Council's 3rd district in a special election. She became the Democratic nominee and defeated Republican Joseph Mauriello 89%-11%.[6] In 2001, she won re-election to her first full term, defeating Republican Michelle Bouchard 75%-25%.[7] In 2003, she won re-election to her second full term with 86% of the vote.[8] In 2005, she won re-election to her third full term unopposed.[9] In 2007, she won re-election to her fourth full term unopposed. In 2009, she won re-election to her fifth full term with 81% of the vote.49 member Council[10]

Quinn served as chair of the Health Committee, during which she sponsored the Equal Benefits Bill and the Health Care Security Act, which requires that city contractors provide parity in benefits between married spouses and registered domestic partners. This and the Health Care Security Act, which ensures health care for grocery workers, were passed over Mayor Michael Bloomberg's veto.[11]

Term-limits positions[edit]

In 2008, Quinn backed Mayor Bloomberg on a bill that overturned a public vote from 1993, which had imposed a two-term limit for elected officials, and another vote in 1996 that maintained the two term limit, although Quinn had previously stated she would not support undermining term limits.[12] The Council voted to change term limits and allow the mayor, City Council members, and borough presidents to run for third terms, reversing the results of the two previous public referenda.[13] Bloomberg and Quinn both subsequently ran successfully for third terms.[14]

The Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum, among others, denounced this move. The following year, in June 2009, the City Council approved a 40% cut in the budget of the Public Advocate's Office. Gotbaum declared herself a victim of "political payback" because of her opposition to the changes in the term limits law,[15] a notion Quinn claimed was "ridiculous". All five candidates for Public Advocate showed up at city hall in June to protest the move,[16] and in 2010 New Yorkers again voted overwhelmingly to limit politicians to two consecutive terms.[17]

Food stamps[edit]

The New York City Council under her leadership has led efforts to make Greenmarkets around the city accept food stamps.[18] She also opposes requiring applicants for food stamps to be electronically fingerprinted.[19] New York State stopped fingerprinting food-stamp recipients in 2007, however the practice has continued in New York City under the Bloomberg administration.[19]

Humanitarian efforts[edit]

Christine Quinn, Speaker of the New York City Council, wrote a letter to President Obama on December 26, 2012, formally requesting that he commute Jonathan Pollard's severely disproportionate and unjust sentence. Jonathan Pollard provided classified information to Israel. He is the only individual in the history of the United States serving a lifetime sentence for providing classified information to an ally without the intent to harm the United States. She stated that he has expressed great remorse. She wrote, "I know I share similar views with many past and current American elected officials" and "therefore, I respectfully urge you to use your constitutional power to treat Mr. Pollard the way others have been treated by our nation's justice system."[20][21][22]

Position on St. Patrick's Day Parade, Ahmadinejad visit[edit]

Quinn has been a vigorous LGBT advocate during her tenure in City Council. She boycotted the annual St. Patrick's Day parade in New York in 2006 due to the policy of the parade's sponsor, the Ancient Order of Hibernians, against gays marching openly. That same year, she tried unsuccessfully to broker a deal with the organizers to allow her to wear a gay pride pin.[23][24] Subsequently, she was named 2008 Irish American of the Year by the New York-based Irish Echo[25] and has boycotted the parade every year since, marching instead in St. Patrick's Day parades in other cities around the world.[26] On July 28, 2012 Quinn sent a letter demanding that the president of NYU end the university's relationship with Chick-Fil-A, taking issue with the stance of the company's CEO, Dan Cathy, regarding same-sex marriage.[27]

Preceding the controversial lecture by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at Columbia University in 2007, Quinn wrote to the school requesting that his invitation to speak be withdrawn due to the Iranian president's support of state-sponsored terrorism and hate speech, the latter particularly with regard to the Holocaust. Her request was denied.[28]

Controversy around council funds[edit]

Under New York City law, the City Council speaker has authority over the yearly city council funds, worth almost $400 million (in 2012), to distribute among 51 members.[29] The discretionary funding system sometimes referred to as the "slush fund" has been criticized in recent years, with some councilmembers alleging Quinn to have cut funding to their districts as a form of political retaliation. Quinn has repeatedly denied these allegations.[29]

In April 2008 the New York Post revealed[30] that Quinn's office had appropriated millions of dollars to organizations that do not exist, and that the money was then secretly routed to organizations favored by individual council members. In a news conference that followed Quinn said, “I had no knowledge of it; I did not know this was the practice". Quinn said that she found out about it only a few months earlier, alerted authorities, and ordered staffers to stop the practice, but they did not listen.[31] Quinn hired a criminal defense lawyer to represent her in the federal and city investigations.[32]

Records showed that nearly 25 percent of those "secret slush" funds went to organizations in Quinn's district, and that two of the biggest recipients of the funds had contributed to Quinn's 2009 mayoral run.[33] In September 2011, one of the city council's lawyers reported that the federal "investigation has been closed without taking up any action" but only after two councilmen were indicted at the cost of $100,000 to the city.[34]

Committee assignments[edit]

  • Health (Chair)

2013 mayoral election[edit]

On March 10, 2013, after much speculation, she declared her run to become New York City's next mayor.[35] (Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the incumbent, is term limited and cannot run again.) In the crowded, nine-candidate race for the Democratic nomination, Quinn was considered the front-runner early in the race.[36][37] However, her position faded as time went on and she came in third in the Democratic primary.[38] Quinn received 15.5% of the total votes cast, to Bill de Blasio's 40.3% and Bill Thompson's 26.2%.

Memoir[edit]

In 2013, her memoir, With Patience and Fortitude – A Memoir, was published by William Morrow (ISBN 978-0-062-23246-5).

Personal life[edit]

Quinn resides in Chelsea, Manhattan, with her wife, Kim Catullo, a lawyer.[39][40] The couple married on May 19, 2012,[41] and spend their summer weekends at a home that they purchased in 2004 in Bradley Beach, New Jersey.[42] Her former partner, Laura Morrison,[43] was chief of staff to former State Senator Thomas Duane.

She joined the board of Athlete Ally, an organization fighting homophobia in sports, in February 2014.[44]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Chibbaro, Jr., Lou. "Most powerful" gay politician in the country, Washington Blade, January 20, 2006. Retrieved on 04-11-2007.
  2. ^ Clary, Greg (October 11, 2009), Thousands march for gay rights in Washington, CNN, retrieved October 11, 2009 
  3. ^ Dwyer, Jim (April 5, 2012). "Christine Quinn Retraces Grandmother's Trip on Titanic". The New York Times. 
  4. ^ "Christine C. Quinn profile". Nytimes.com. 2006-01-04. Retrieved 2011-12-01. 
  5. ^ "Member Bio". Council.nyc.gov. Retrieved 2013-07-25. 
  6. ^ "New York City Council 03 Special Race - Nov 02, 1999". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2014-03-15. 
  7. ^ "New York City Council 03 Race - Nov 06, 2001". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2014-03-15. 
  8. ^ "New York City Council 03 Race - Nov 04, 2003". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2014-03-15. 
  9. ^ "New York City Council 03 Race - Nov 08, 2005". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2014-03-15. 
  10. ^ "New York City Council 03 Race - Nov 03, 2009". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2014-03-15. 
  11. ^ Saltonstall, David (2006-02-15). "COURT TILTS TO MIKE. KOs gay-partner equal benefits statute and allows him to override Council laws". New York: NY Daily News. Retrieved 2013-07-25. 
  12. ^ "N.Y. City Council extends term limits for mayor, other officials". CNN. October 23, 2008. Retrieved February 28, 2013. 
  13. ^ Paybarah, Azi (October 12, 2008). "It's Official: Quinn Backs Bloomberg's Term Limits Plan". The Observer. Retrieved February 28, 2013. 
  14. ^ Rubenstein, Dana (October 25, 2012). "Betting that voters will still care about Christine Quinn's term-limits deal in 2013". Capital. Retrieved February 28, 2013. 
  15. ^ "N.Y. City Council extends term limits for mayor, other officials". New York Times. January 1, 2010. Retrieved February 28, 2013. 
  16. ^ Chen, David W. (June 23, 2009). "Rivals Unite to Protest Public Advocate Budget Cut". The New York Times. Retrieved February 28, 2013. 
  17. ^ Hernandez, Javier C. (November 3, 2010). "Once Again, City Voters Approve Term Limits". New York Times. Retrieved February 28, 2013. 
  18. ^ Mogul, Fred (2012-01-03). "Food Stamps Increasingly Deployed at Greenmarkets". WNYC. Retrieved 2013-07-25. 
  19. ^ a b Taylor, Kate (2011-10-12). "Quinn opposes fingerprinting of food stamp recipients". New York Times. 
  20. ^ "Quinn's letter". Retrieved April 10, 2014. 
  21. ^ "My Winners and Losers of 2012 List". Retrieved April 10, 2014. 
  22. ^ "Speaker Quinn Sends Letter To Obama Requesting Him To Free Pollard". Hamodia. December 26, 2012. Retrieved April 10, 2014. 
  23. ^ "NY Snubbed In Gay Row". Sky News. 2007-03-05. Archived from the original on 2007-07-04. Retrieved 25 July 2013. 
  24. ^ Chan, Sewell (March 5, 2007). "Quinn to March for St. Patrick, but in Dublin". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-03-05. 
  25. ^ O'Hanlon, Ray (2008-12-31). "Irish American of the Year: Christine Quinn". The Irish Echo Online. Archived from the original on 2009-03-21. Retrieved 2013-07-25. 
  26. ^ "Christine Quinn, St. Patrick's Day Parade: Speaker's Prominence Highlights Tensions Between Event, LGBT Community". Huffington Post. March 15, 2013. 
  27. ^ "The Chick-fil-A Business". The New York Times (Editorial). 2012-07-30. Retrieved 2013-07-25. 
  28. ^ Parsons, Claudia (2007-09-20). "NY university urged to cancel Ahmadinejad speech". Reuters. Retrieved 2007-09-24. 
  29. ^ a b Grynbaum, Michael M. (March 27, 2013). "Quinn, on CNN, Denies Being Vindictive". New York Times. 
  30. ^ Rivera, Ray; Buettner, Russ (April 4, 2008). "Phony Allocations by City Council Reported". New York Times. Retrieved March 5, 2013. 
  31. ^ "New York City's City Council Slush Fund Allocations Cloud the Political Future of City Council President Christine Quinn and of Mayor Mike Bloomberg". parentadvocates.org. Retrieved March 5, 2013. 
  32. ^ Rivera, Ray; Buettner, Russ (April 12, 2008). "Investigations Into Spending Lead Speaker to Hire Lawyer". New York Times. Retrieved March 5, 2013. 
  33. ^ "QUINN-WIN $ITUATION-24% OF MYSTERY FUND WENT TO HER DISTRICT". New York Post. April 6, 2008. Retrieved March 5, 2013. [dead link]
  34. ^ Goldenberg, Sally (September 19, 2011). "100G slush-fund hangover". New York Post. Retrieved February 19, 2012. 
  35. ^ Goldenberg, Sally (March 10, 2013). "Christine Quinn officially announces she's running for NYC mayor". New York Post. Retrieved 2013-07-25. 
  36. ^ "NYC mayoral race front-runner Christine Quinn formally launches bid". CBS News. 2013-03-10. Retrieved 2013-07-25. 
  37. ^ "New York City (NYC) Poll - April 10, 2013 - 82% Of New Yorkers Say Big App | Quinnipiac University Connecticut". Quinnipiac.edu. 2013-04-10. Retrieved 2013-07-25. 
  38. ^ Dwyer, Jim (2013-09-10). "Quinn Smiles Gamely, but Primary Wasn’t Supposed to Be This Hard". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-09-11. 
  39. ^ "Christine C. Quinn Biography". Council.nyc.gov. Retrieved 2013-07-25. 
  40. ^ Chen, David W. (March 16, 2009). "Quinn to Mark St. Patrick's Day Elsewhere". New York Times. 
  41. ^ Taylor, Kate (May 19, 2012). "Amid New York's Political Elite, Council Speaker Weds Her Longtime Partner". The New York Times. Retrieved May 20, 2012. 
  42. ^ Chen, David W. "For Council Speaker, Home on Weekends Is at Jersey Shore", The New York Times, July 25, 2012. Accessed August 10, 2012. "Christine C. Quinn, the New York City Council speaker, in the weekend home in Bradley Beach, N.J., that she and her spouse, Kim M. Catullo, bought in 2004."
  43. ^ "Building Ties That Bind New Councilwoman Quinn Looks To Common Good". New York Daily News (New York). 1999-02-20. 
  44. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: Former Speaker Christine Quinn joins board of nonprofit for gay athletes". New York Daily News, February 4, 2014.

External links[edit]

Non-profit organization positions
Preceded by
Matt Foreman
Executive Director of the New York City Anti-Violence Project
1996-1998
Succeeded by
Jeffrey Montgomery
Political offices
Preceded by
Thomas Duane
Member of the New York City Council from the 3rd district
1999-2013
Succeeded by
Corey Johnson
Preceded by
Gifford Miller
Speaker of the New York City Council
2006-2013
Succeeded by
Melissa Mark-Viverito