If Ruth Messinger were in high school instead of on the New York City Council, she would be considered “the most likely to succeed.” So said a January 1987 Daily News poll. City officials and opinion-makers were asked to rate the thirty-five members of New York’s City Council and the Council president. Messinger got the survey’s highest overall rating —3.99 —leading in every area from intelligence to accessibility and, most impressively for the one New York City Councilmember who belongs to the Democratic Socialists of America, she led in an understanding of city finance.
Messinger, first elected to the City Council in 1977 to represent Manhattan’s Upper West Side, has become a national figure, far outreaching her duties as a legislator for a community regarded as Manhattan’s most liberal. Even with soaring property values and restaurant mania, the district
continues to send her back to the Council with overwhelming support. In her last reelection campaign she beat her opponent by a margin of four to one.
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