LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Los Angeles City Councilwoman Nury Martinez was chosen by her colleagues today to become the next council president, making her the first Latina to be selected to the post.
Martinez will replace outgoing Council President Herb Wesson, who decided to relinquish his title to focus on his campaign for Los Angeles County Supervisor in District 2. He will remain on the council until his term is up in November.
Wesson, who has been on the council since 2005, has served as council president since 2011. He will relinquish that title on Jan. 4.
Martinez hailed Wesson’s leadership, saying he “has demonstrated time and time again his commitment to this council and his commitment to the 4 million people that reside in our city.” She noted that Wesson was the first black council member to serve as president.
Martinez gave a passionate speech about her upbringing, saying it was her humble beginnings that brought her to where she is today. She said she continues to rely on the lessons she was taught by her parents.
Martinez served as assistant council president pro tempore and president pro tempore in 2017 and 2018, respectively.
Martinez is the second woman ever elected to serve as the city council president. Until Martinez, Councilwoman Pat Russell was the first and only woman elected by her peers in 1983. Councilwoman Ruth Galanter assumed the title of Council President as part of her duties as president pro tempore leading up to and following the death of then-Council President John Ferraro in 2001.
The city council president has a great amount of power — the president is in charge of overseeing which committees will deliberate motions and resolutions and appoints the members of the City Council’s committees.
Martinez said she will detail her plans for the City Council on Jan. 14, but she highlighted some critical issues she wants to address immediately.
The council also voted to appoint Councilman Joe Buscaino as its next president pro tempore.
Buscaino said he wants to ensure the city is using everything at its disposal to address issues in the near future.
Wesson called for one last round of applause before resuming the council meeting.
“We are certain that you are up to the task,” Wesson said to Martinez and Buscaino.