Lander: ‘Shadow speaker’ talk is racist and sexist

Brad Lander speaks to Melissa Mark-Viverito. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
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The councilman whom the Times recently noted was being referred to as a “shadow speaker” to actual Council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito suggested the description is racist and sexist.

“You’d be unlikely to hear such things if the Speaker were white and male, no matter who offered advice,” Brad Lander, a second-term Democrat from Park Slope, wrote on his website. 

He wrote that “it seems to me there’s gender and ethnic bias at work here.”

Mark-Viverito, who Lander helped to elect as speaker, is the first Latina to hold any citywide position.



When new Council assignments were doled out it was Lander who got the coveted role as chairman of the Rules Committee, which helps shape the body’s rules, and also the newly created title of Deputy Leader for Policy. In that role, he’ll also serve as an ex-officio member of each of the Council’s committees, a role that had previously been reserved for the speaker, majority and minority leaders.