For most of 2021, the race for the city’s second-most powerful position had been a puzzling mess that few in the real estate industry would have embarked on without risking angering the eventual winner.

No less than eight members of the council applied for the post of speaker. By Monday, December 13, however, most of them had given up and given their support to Adrienne Adams, a member of the Democratic Council of Southeast Queens and a former chair of the region’s community council who was rarely mentioned as a favorite and no. was not the initial support of Eric Adams, then the incoming mayor.

Adams, 61, quickly became a consensus candidate for most of the 51 council members as well as unions – especially construction and municipal workers – and county Democratic Party leaders who played central roles in the ‘outcome of the race. At the end of the week, his only rival, Queens Councilmember Francisco Moya, conceded and the presidency was his.

“She’s been more of a type of person on the ground and not a type of political politician, trying to do the right thing,” said a Queens political source with knowledge of Adams’ thought process. “She’s a little surprised that she did it at the end, thinking, ‘I won, what? “”

Real estate executives were relieved by the result. The left wing of the council has gained more members in recent years, and industry leaders feared a progressive candidate could scramble Mayor Adams’ agenda while risking the town’s takeover. Adrienne Adams was seen as less ideological and more pragmatic than the other candidates.

“We share its goals of supporting a strong and fair economic recovery, creating good jobs and increasing the production of much needed housing, including affordable housing,” said Jim Whelan, chairman of the Real Estate Board of New York, in a press release. “We are committed to working closely with her and the council to advance results-driven, data-driven policies that advance the city’s economic recovery.”

She also stays in the mayor’s good graces, even though she wasn’t his first choice, perhaps because they’ve known each other since they attended Bayside High School together and have remained friendly. He tweeted his support that she would be the “best choice to move our city council forward” on December 17, and the two leaders visited their old playground just over a week before they took office on January 1.

President Adams will likely argue with Mayor Adams over the budget and priorities to deal with first as the city heads into another winter of rising COVID-19 rates and closures. But she will lead a predominantly female historical council, which could lead to new policies and a different culture in city government.

“There was a brotherhood culture at Town Hall, but we’ll see a different wave with all of the women and women Adams empowers,” a former Queens official said of the new speaker. “I think we’ll see a better form of leadership emerge.”

Native of Hollis, Queens, Adrienne Adams Graduated from Spelman College, a historically black private liberal arts college for women in Atlanta, and began training childcare professionals. She also worked as a manager and marketing for several telecommunications companies before becoming a corporate human resources trainer who mainly worked with executives.

Politics would come later. In 2009, Adams began volunteering with the Queens Community Board 12, which covers downtown Jamaica and six other neighborhoods in Southeast Queens. She has served as chair of education and has represented the board of trustees at citywide educational events and Ministry of Education policy meetings.

Three years later, she was chosen as chair of the board, where she served for five years. During this time, she developed a close relationship with Queens Democratic County bosses Joe Crowley and Gregory Meeks, the latter who succeeded Crowley in 2019. Party leaders raised funds and supported her in a unsuccessful effort to oust Queens Senator James Sanders in the 2016 Democratic primary. When Queens Democrat Ruben Wills’ council seat opened following his 2017 conviction for fraud and theft, Adams won the support of Crowley and Meeks and won.

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, who has known Adams for over a decade, said she has formed coalitions and brought stable leadership to one of the most difficult community councils to oversee due to the diversity of its constituencies.

“She’s been able to balance the needs of the whole community, and doing that and running for city council isn’t easy,” Richards said. “She doesn’t need on-the-job training. She understands the nuances and this is going to be important.

While on the board, Adams headed its public safety committee, chairing a contentious hearing in October into the failures of the New York Police Department’s special victims division to resolve rape investigations.

She has also developed a reputation for listening and being a fair arbiter in complex land use disputes. His 2021 support for the controversial New York Blood Center research tower allowed other members to back the plan even though the ward councilor in the neighborhood opposed it. When her former community council opposed a senior housing project presented last year, she listened to both sides before making the decision to support the proposal.

“She’s not necessarily looking to win a popularity contest, but serves the voters she was put here for. [serve]”Richards said.” In the end, she came to the decision to improve the lives of her constituents and take care of the space and housing of community facilities. “

Adams will seek to use his experience in the corporate world and local government to manage the disparate power centers within City Hall.

So far, Adams has indicated that she will focus on stepping up testing to contain COVID-19, improving police management while ensuring that police have sufficient resources to combat the armed violence, accelerating the city’s economic recovery and addressing inequalities in public schools.

Adams will likely use his new position to convey a number of priorities to residents outside the borough as well. She promised that she would help taxi drivers get into debt over bad loans and extend free legal services to immigrants.

She also lobbied the state to grant a full casino license to Genting Group’s Resorts World, which would allow live card games at its South Ozone Park gaming facility.

“Resorts World has made a powerful contribution to New York’s economy, creating jobs for local residents and stimulating economic development in the borough of Queens,” Adams said in a letter she sent to the commission. state games, the New York Post reported.

And Adams has vowed to take action to bring basement apartments up to standard – a priority for affordable housing advocates even before severe flooding from the remnants of Hurricane Ida kills 16 people.

“New York City has been facing an affordability crisis for decades – a crisis that has only been made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Adams said in a statement to Commercial Observer. “My hope is to rethink the processes to ensure that we build truly affordable housing in communities where residents are at risk of displacement. “

But bringing basement units up to standard presents several challenges. If landlords have to spend the money to add drainage systems and create new outlets, they could increase rents. A pilot program providing homeowners with financial assistance and regulatory relief had its budget cut, so less than 10 homeowners participated, WNYC reported.

Still, real estate executives are optimistic. Adams will bring his openness to development and sustainability refined in the boroughs outside the rest of the city.

“For us, it’s about focusing on things to bring the city back in a safe way, improving streetscapes, supporting small businesses and not penalizing some businesses over others,” said declared a real estate source. “We hope she drives the first set of agenda ideas in a way that demonstrates it.”

Above all, however, Adams faces the fourth wave of the pandemic in a city that has broken records for positive cases.

Several other challenges then emerge. She will have to negotiate with Mayor Adams over the city’s budget, which has exploded under Blasio’s administration. Before assuming his new role, Mayor Adams’ chancellor of schools, David Banks, has pledged to cut the Education Department’s budget, but the political costs of curtailing programs and closing schools could fall on governments. board members, who will face voters again in 18 months.

President Adams’ biggest obstacle will be maintaining the independence of the council while partnering with the mayor on key issues. But his constituents on the council, especially those well to his left, could force Adams to confront the mayor or risk a mutiny. Before even taking a seat, Members clashed with the then mayor-elect over his support for solitary confinement on Rikers Island, forcing the then-incoming speaker to declare her opposition to punitive segregation or solitary confinement in NY1.

“She will have to forge an agreement between different groups and develop a policy with a city administration that she may in fact have to be in conflict with in order to survive politically,” Hank Sheinkopf, a political consultant who works with a number of unions , said. “She must be very nimble.”