Bronx Council Candidate Claims a Diversity Problem in the Assembly

ALBANY—Haile Rivera, a Bronx activist who is running for a seat in the City Council, is "extremely disappointed" that the Assembly leadership team announced yesterday does not include a Latino in the post of deputy speaker.

Rivera sent a letter to Silver's office in December raising the issue, and is now threatening action against Silver.

"If this does not change by the next session, I will be make sure that the Speaker hears the voice of Latinos," Rivera wrote in a letter to Silver sent yesterday. "We will pay him a visit at his home and his office. Maybe then will the Speaker give Latinos the opportunity we have earned in the state. In the meantime, I would like to remind the Speaker that the 64th district has undergone some demographic shifts since he was first elected and elections are every 2 years, not in four or six."

The deputy speaker's post went to Assemblywoman Earlene Hooper of Long Island.

Assemblyman Peter Rivera, chairman of the chamber's Hispanic task force, said he was offered the post but "had no interest in it."

"Really, the prestigious spots are committee chairs, and Latinos have four leadership positions,"  he said. Additionally, Assemblywoman Carmen Arroyo was named as the chair of state / federal relations.

Haile Rivera says that diversity of representation is a huge issue for him, and said that since the leadership of a body sets the committee chairs, equal representation was not possible without a seat near the top.

He pledged that if elected, his council office would mirror the ethnic diversity of the 14th District. The seat is currently held by Maria Baez.

Bronx Council Candidate Claims a Diversity Problem in the Assembly