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De Blasio, congressman 'moving forward' after flap

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio greets

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio greets the people portraying the Three Kings at the 5th Annual Intergenerational Three Kings Celebration at the Florence E. Smith Senior Center in Queens. (Jan. 12, 2014) Credit: Charles Eckert

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Rep. Joseph Crowley presented a united front at a Three Kings Day celebration in Queens on Sunday, though last week the Democrats backed rival candidates in the heated race for City Council speaker.

De Blasio and Crowley (D-Queens/Bronx) posed for photos with their arms around each other, and the congressman insisted to reporters that no hard feelings remain.

"We disagreed on a political issue. That's behind us now and now we're moving forward," said Crowley, chairman of the Queens County Democratic Party.

Crowley added that he had no regrets about supporting Dan Garodnick, of Manhattan's East Side, against de Blasio's pick, Melissa Mark-Viverito, of East Harlem.

Mark-Viverito was chosen as speaker last Wednesday by a unanimous 51-0 vote in the City Council after Garodnick dropped out and conceded. She is the first Latina to hold a citywide elected office.

The speaker can serve as a powerful counterbalance to the mayor. And though de Blasio and his aides had quietly lobbied council members on behalf of Mark-Viverito, he has repeatedly said he expects she will stay independent of him.

Mark-Viverito attended the celebration in Corona after de Blasio left, and like the mayor, was amicable with Crowley.

Asked whether there was any resentment, she said, "Not for my part and I know from what I heard him say publicly, it's the same on his end. And I look forward to . . . a productive relationship with the congressman and with all my colleagues."

Mark-Viverito said she has called and arranged one-on-one meetings with council members to work toward being a "very united council."

Weeks before the council voted on its speaker, she had declared victory, citing the support of 30 colleagues. Crowley, vexed at de Blasio's influence in the race, last month called de Blasio someone who is "very, very comfortable in the backroom."

The behind-the-scenes speaker's race involves the doling out of committee leadership positions, with appointments historically influenced by county party chairs.

Crowley on Sunday said the decisions are being made "entirely" by the council. Mark-Viverito similarly called the process "an internal conversation."

De Blasio did not speak with reporters Sunday, but said in speeches both at the Corona event and at the midtown Manhattan inauguration of Borough President Gale Brewer that he is proud of Mark-Viverito's place in history.

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