WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — Ydanis Rodriguez was sworn in to his second term in the New York City Council Friday afternoon, taking the oath at his 177th Street district office to serve an expanded 10th council district that now covers virtually all of Washington Heights and Inwood.
Rodriguez was re-elected to the council in November, winning more than 90 percent of the vote against Republican Ronnie Cabrera and School's Choice Candidate Miguel Estrella.
The activist councilman has made headlines many times since taking office, leading protests for worker's rights, chasing down a McDonald's manager who failed to provide his employees with air conditioning and getting arrested after leading a march down to Occupy Wall Street in Zuccotti Park.
Rodriguez, joined Friday by his wife, daughters and several elected officials, joked about his penchant for getting arrested while recounting a conversation with his daughter, Yarissa.
"My daughter said: 'Papi, how many times have you been arrested?'" Rodriguez recalled. "I said: 'In civil disobedience? More than five times, but always doing the right thing.'"
Rodriguez was joined by Councilwoman and Speaker apparent Melissa Mark-Viverito, whom Rodriguez hailed for her work pushing forward the paid-sick leave bill.
"She's going to be the speaker, and she's going to a great leader," Rodriguez said. "She will get the support of most of the 51 council members."
Mark-Viverito promised to work with Rodriguez to push forward an agenda that embraces struggling New Yorkers.
"We are united in wanting to work toward an agenda that is going to be inclusive of those that have been left out for way too long," Mark-Viverito said.
State Sen. Adriano Espaillat added that the city's new leadership would have no choice but to produce results.
"We will not be able to have an excuse not to get done what needs to get done for our community because this is a decade of progressive politics with a new mayor and speaker," Espaillat said.
"We should be able to get a lot done."