Councilmember Melissa Mark-Viverito is your new City Council Speaker. The two-term, 44-year-old representative from Spanish Harlem won the unanimous support of her colleagues (and her mayor) after an Earth-Shattering Hug from Councilmember Dan Garodnick, whose last-minute efforts to win the seat melted into last-minute efforts to score some favors down the line. Meet the first Latina Speaker of New York's City Council.

A Fierce Advocate For Labor & Progressive Causes

MMV cut her teeth throwing elbows for 1199SEIU, the powerful healthcare workers union. “She unraveled the payment system and revealed to us the huge profits being made,” the union's political director told the Times. She was an early proponent (and willing arrestee) for Occupy Wall Street. She has fought against car wash operators that illegally dispose of poisonous chemicals and for the right for undocumented immigrants to cast a vote. The city's media establishment is alarmed by her refusal to tack to the center; the Post previously warned readers that she once visited Bolivia, and Capital New York reported that she routinely declined to pledge allegiance to the American flag .

Her commitment to progressivism began in Puerto Rico, where she was born:

In an interview, her mother said she raised Melissa and her two brothers to mistrust convention. She posted a reminder in the family’s kitchen that what they were taught in school was only “an amalgam of current prejudice."

“We just believed everyone was equal, and we raised the children to be that way,” she said.

A Fierce Advocate For Her Privacy

“My private life is very private, my family is very private,” MMV told the Times. “But my professional life is very public, and I’m fine with that, and taking public positions and being much more vocal and out there."

City and State reports that the Speaker lives with her brother, a documentary filmmaker, in a three-family home on East 111st Street, which she purchased for $350K in 1999 (it's now worth $1.2 million). Before that, MMV lived in the West Village—some have accused her of "district shopping."

She Grew Up Wealthy And Remains That Way

MMV's father was a successful eye doctor in Puerto Rico, who founded a hospital, owned a Cessna, and raised his family in an "exclusive suburb" of San Juan, City and State reported. When the hospital was sold for $165 million in 1998, the proceeds were shared amongst the members of the family.

Financial disclosure documents submitted by Mark-Viverito’s office indicate that she has personal wealth in the range of $1 to $2 million, largely in shared interest in condominiums and other real estate in Puerto Rico, including a 12-acre finca on the eastern shore of Puerto Rico, in Ceiba.

Wealthy people incur privileged controversy: the Speaker failed to report rental income on her 111st Street home.

Anointed By Mayor de Blasio

On December 18th, Mayor-elect de Blasio announced that the Speaker's race was over: MMV had his support, get it? What better way to ensure that his progressive agenda will be fully enacted? The mayor also sees zero irony in arm-twisting councilmembers for a Speaker (mostly) favorable to his vision. From City & State:

“If people want to make the parallel they can, and I understand if that’s what people see as logic. I won’t go into details and I think people can fill in the blanks for themselves, they are profoundly different realities,” de Blasio said. “The bottom line is, I’ve said throughout, the Council members are going to make their decision and then I know that they will be independent and she will be independent, I have no doubt about it. I think she will do a great job and we have very similar values and goals for this city, but I guarantee you there will be a lot of independence.”

“I will continue to be collaborative, and that’s my inclination,” MMV told the Times. “But I’m also someone who is not afraid to be strong and firm, and I think that when it comes to women expressing those traits, it somehow is seen a little bit differently and maybe a little bit more critically.”

Independent Enough To Take Mayor Bloomberg's Dating Suggestion

The Times reports that in 2008, Bloomberg set her up with his Spanish tutor, and the two "went on a couple of dates."