Corey Johnson (born April 28, 1982) is the Speaker of the New York City Council and a City Council member for the 3rd District. He is a Democrat. The district includes Hell’s Kitchen, Chelsea, the West Village, and parts of Flatiron, SoHo and the Upper West Side in Manhattan.
Prior to his election as Speaker, Johnson was frequently named as a potential candidate, and was perceived as a leading contender. In mid-December 2017, with the public support of Mayor de Blasio, the concession of other front runners, and backing of the Bronx and Queens Democratic Parties, Johnson corralled the requisite amount of votes to became the presumptive favorite for the position, with the full Council voting on January 3, 2018.
Johnson was raised in Beverly, Massachusetts, in a union household by his mother, Ann Queenan Richardson, a homeless services provider, and his step-father, Rodney Richardson, a Teamster. Johnson's birth father, David Johnson, was born to an American father and Korean mother in South Korea.
Johnson made national headlines in 2000 when, as captain of his high school football team at Masconomet Regional High School, he publicly revealed that he was gay. His story was reported by major national news outlets including The New York Times and 20/20.
Shortly after graduating high school, Johnson moved to New York City and became engaged in LGBT rights activism, after only spending less than one semester at George Washington University. Johnson was a contributor and eventually the political director of the LGBT blog Towleroad.
In 2005, Johnson joined Manhattan Community Board 4 (CB4), to which he said in 2014 “You don’t spend eight years on the community board because it’s sexy,”, “You’re on the community board because you care about the community.” In 2011, Johnson was elected Chair of CB4, becoming the youngest Community Board Chair in New York City at the time. In 2011, Johnson was profiled by City & State as a "rising star" in New York City politics.
In 2013, Christine Quinn ran for Mayor of New York City as her term in the City Council was expiring. Johnson, then Chair of Community Board 4, ran to succeed Quinn and was elected in November 2013 with 86% of the vote. Johnson assumed office on January 1, 2014. As of December 2016, Johnson had passed 18 pieces of legislation.
Among his key areas of focus have been strengthening rent regulation and tenant protection, and enhancing services for New Yorkers with HIV and AIDS. As of December 2017, Johnson, who is HIV-positive, has been identified as the only openly HIV-positive politician in the State of New York.
In the Council, Johnson serves as Chair of the Committee on Health, and is a member of the Contracts, Finance, General Welfare, Waterfronts and Mental Health, Developmental Disability, Alcoholism, Drug Abuse and Disability Services committees. Johnson is Co-Chair of the Manhattan Delegation to the City Council with Council Member Margaret Chin and is the former Chair of the LGBT Caucus.
As Chair of the City Council’s Committee on Health, Council Member Johnson has overseen a number of hearings on major health issues affecting New York City, including the Legionnaires’ outbreak of 2015 and the proliferation of synthetic marijuana, known as K2, in New York.
On April 6, 2016, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed into law Johnson’s bill that prohibits the use of smokeless tobacco products, such as chewing tobacco, at sports stadiums and arenas that host events that require a ticket for admission. The legislation effectively banned chewing tobacco from professional baseball in New York City. A similar ban had previously been enacted in cities including San Francisco, Boston, Los Angeles, and Chicago.
Johnson’s legislation requiring automated external defibrillators to be present at public ball fields in New York City, which was co-sponsored by Minority Leader Steven Matteo, was passed by the City Council on April 20, 2016 and signed into law on May 10, 2016.
On August 16, 2016, the City Council passed legislation introduced by Johnson and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito to create a City office responsible for the coordination of social and healthcare services for individuals who have been released from the New York City Department of Correction.
In 2014, Council Member Johnson introduced legislation that removed surgical requirements for transgender New Yorkers to correct their birth certificates. The legislation passed the City Council on December 8, 2014 and was adopted on January 8, 2015.
Johnson’s first legislation to pass the City Council was a bill that granted a presumption of eligibility for people transitioning from domestic violence shelters to Department of Homeless Services shelters. The bill allows these individuals to bypass extensive intake procedures that they already underwent during their first shelter placement.
Johnson introduced legislation with Council Member Vanessa Gibson to require the Department of Education to report on the use of disciplinary measures in public schools. The legislation was passed on September 30, 2015 and signed into law on October 13, 2015.
Johnson later introduced legislation requiring the Department of Education to regularly report on student health services in public schools, to ensure that such services are adequately serving New York City students. This legislation was signed into law by Mayor de Blasio on February 8, 2016.
Council Member Johnson was the prime sponsor of legislation to declare a housing shortage emergency in 2015, which allowed rent stabilization laws to be extended.
On June 3, 2015, Johnson was arrested in Albany in an act of civil disobedience while protesting for the extension of rent regulation and the reform of the rent laws in New York State. In total, 55 protesters were arrested for blocking the entrance to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office in this demonstration.
Johnson passed legislation in collaboration with Council Members Margaret Chin and Paul Vallone to create oversight for all of New York City’s social adult day care centers. The bill requires all social adult day care centers operating in New York City to register with the City’s Department for the Aging (DFTA), and requires them to adhere to State regulations. The legislation also creates a DFTA ombudsman to take complaints regarding any lack of compliance with these requirements.
Johnson worked with Council Member Elizabeth Crowley in 2014 to introduce a set of bills to regulate the sale of pets in New York City, with the purpose of animal protection. The bills regulate irresponsible breeders, combat overpopulation, provide for the safe accounting of animals and ensure that known animal abusers are unable to obtain animals. The package of legislation was passed on December 17, 2014.
In 2015, Council Member Johnson introduced legislation mandating that either fire sprinklers or supervision be present in all establishments that house animals for more than 24 hours. The bill was signed into law on September 2, 2015, after more than a decade of advocacy by animal rights activists.
In 2016, Council Member Johnson co-sponsored legislation by Council Member Rosie Mendez to ban the use of wild animals in circuses. In October 2016, Johnson held a hearing in the Health Committee and spoke passionately in support of the legislation, saying to the media "trucking wild animals in and out of the city strictly for entertainment purposes is not a humane way to be treating them.” On June 15, 2017, Johnson Chaired a meeting of the Health Committee and successfully passed the bill by a vote of 7-0.  The bill heads to the full City Council for a vote on June 21, 2017.
On May 27, 2015 the City Council passed Johnson’s legislation that requires all heavy-duty vehicles in New York City’s fleet to be equipped with sideguards, which are devices meant to reduce casualties commonly caused to pedestrians and cyclists by large trucks.
In response to a growing trend of hotel rooms being converted into luxury condominiums, Johnson introduced legislation to limit the number of condo conversions that hotel owners can make. The goal of this legislation was to protect jobs in the hotel industry. It was passed by the City Council on May 14, 2015 and signed into law on June 2, 2015.
Johnson’s District includes all or part of the West Side neighborhoods of Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen, Greenwich Village, SoHo, the Upper West Side, Times Square, FlatIron, Hudson Yards, the High Line, the Theater District, and the Garment District.
Since assuming office, Johnson has allocated $10 million in capital funding to improve schools, parks, libraries and other neighborhood institutions. He has allocated a further $1.35 million to support local non-profit institutions through discretionary funding.
Johnson introduced participatory budgeting to his district, funding items such as the creation of a park on West 20th Street, a new library for City Knoll Public Middle School, new bathrooms for the NYC Lab High School.
|2013 Primary election||Corey Johnson||Dem||12,538||63.28%||Yetta Kurland||Dem||7,275||32.72%|
|2013 General election||Corey Johnson||Dem||23,608||86.6%||Richard Stewart||Rep||3,691||13.4%|
|2017 General election||Corey Johnson||Dem||24,639||94.3%||Marni Halasa||Other||1,487||5.7%|
|New York City Council, 3rd District