Metro

SI’s Joe Borelli to lead republicans on City Council

Republican lawmakers will see their ranks nearly double on the City Council come January — with hopes of a stronger counter-balance to far-left Democrats — and leading them in that effort will be Staten Island Councilman Joe Borelli.

“As I see it, the city is now a three-party system where there’s the Democrats in power, and there’s the far left in DSA on one side, and there’s the Republicans and moderates on the other,” Borelli told The Post, using the acronym for the Democratic Socialists of America. 

“Our job is to be the loyal opposition, but also to be supportive when we can work together to push back on the defund the police movement and other DSA priorities.”

Moderate Democrats Kalman Yeger of Brooklyn and Robert Holden of Queens, who won their elections on both the Democratic and Republican lines, are likely to vote with the GOP conference in many instances.

But while just two DSA-backed candidates won their Democratic primaries over the summer, several socialist-aligned and left-leaning lawmakers will next year begin serving on the council, including socialist Kristin Jordan Richardson of Harlem and Shahana Hanif of Brooklyn.

Staten Island Councilman Joe Borelli
Staten Island Councilman Joe Borelli was unanimously elected to lead Republicans in the City Council.
Paul Martinka for NY Post

Meanwhile, Republicans snatched two spots from Democrats last month — with Vickie Paladino beating Tony Avella for the District 19 seat in northern Queens and Inna Vernikov besting Steven Saperstein for the District 48 seat in southern Brooklyn — bringing their numbers in the 51-member body from the current three to five.

The members elected Borelli minority leader during a unanimous intra-party vote at City Hall Wednesday.

Joann Ariola
Joann Ariola defeated Felicia Sing and will be the fifth Republican to enter the City Council.
Dennis A. Clark for NY Post

The current term-limited minority leader, Steven Matteo, will be leaving the council for a job in the private sector. Matteo’s chief of staff, David Carr, won the race for his seat against Democratic contender Sal Albanese.  

The fifth Republican member is incoming Councilwoman Joann Ariola from Queens’ District 32. The former Queens GOP chair beat Felicia Singh to hold on to outgoing Republican Erich Ulrich’s seat.

The five Republican City Council members represent the largest minority caucus since the mid-1990s, when seven GOP lawmakers served on the body.

Inna Vernikov
Republican Inna Vernikov won her election to represent Brooklyn District 48 on the City Council.
Gregory P. Mango for NY Post

Borelli attributed the Republican swell — the first gain for the party since 2009 — to voters who have had enough with talk of defunding the NYPD and emptying jails amid a stark rise in violent crime. 

“They want a moderate, competent government — and that requires pushing and pulling the administration from the right,” Borelli said. 

“I think everyone has an interest in seeing a rational City Council,” said Borelli after the vote.

He added, “It’s our job to be the loyal opposition and to support where we can,” pointing to crime as one potential issue where the GOP caucus could support Eric Adams, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s successor.

“There will be six dozen things we disagree on,” Borelli explained. “If we’re not calling out both the good and the bad, we’re reduced to being full of crap.”

Councilman Kalman Yeger
Councilman Kalman Yeger, a moderate Democrat, is expected to vote with the GOP on many issues.
Stefan Jeremiah for NY Post

He expects his members to play an influential role in selecting the next City Council speaker, though he would not tip his hand on which candidate they favor. 


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