NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — City Councilman Corey Johnson (D-3rd) was officially elected as the new Council Speaker Wednesday.

WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman was listening as Johnson set the stage for the next four years.

Johnson took the speakership with a nod to his mother, saying, “I wouldn’t be here without you.” He also made a nod to his own past.

“I came here on a wing and on a prayer and on a dream, with two bags at the age of 19 years old knowing two people; not knowing where I was going to live,” Johnson said.

Now, he holds the second most powerful office in New York.

“The problems and challenges we continue to face are of historic proportions,” Johnson said.

Johnson stressed the need for strong, united, “and independent Council.” He carved out a contrast with his two most recent predecessors – Melissa Mark-Viverito and Christine Quinn – who were seen as mostly in lockstep with the mayors the served alongside – current Mayor Bill de Blasio and former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, respectively.

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