New York Senator Chuck Schumer was chosen as the Senate Minority Leader on November 16. He is married to Iris Weinshall, a Brooklyn native who is currently the Chief Operating Officer of the New York Public Library.
Schumer and the 63-year-old Weinshall have been married since 1980 and are the parents of two children, Alison and Jessica.
Here is a look at Weinshall’s life and career.
1. Rudy Giuliani Named Her the Commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation in 2000
After serving New York City as Senior Vice President of the New York State Urban Development Corporation and Deputy Commissioner for Management and Budget at the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, she was named the New York City Department of Transportation commissioner in 2000. Then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who might have a role in the Donald Trump administration, appointed Weinshall to the job. She remained at the department until 2007, staying even when Michael Bloomberg became mayor.
Under her leadership, the Department of Transportation had a “bike tsar” as the city tried to increase bicycle use. Andrew Vesselinovitch got the job in 2001, but he left the job in 2006 because he didn’t like the progress (or lack thereof) under Weinshall.
Vesselinovitch told the New York Sun at the time that Weinshall shot down half of the proposals his team made and she gave community boards the power to veto lanes.
2. Weinshall’s Department Was Criticized by the NTSB After a Staten Island Ferry Crash Killed 11 People
Under her leadership, the DOT faced criticism for its oversight of the Staten Island Ferry after a crash on October 15, 2003 killed 11 people. A report from the National Transportation Safety Board said that the city’s lack of oversight was a factor in the accident, CBS News reported at the time.
Ellen Engleman Conners, who was the NTSB chairwoman at the time, called the crash “a wake-up call to all modes of transportation.” The NTSB also noted “the failure of the New York City Department of Transportation to implement and oversee safe, effective operating procedures.”
In November 2003, there was an investigation of Coast Guard safety records of Staten Island ferries, which found that most were caused by human error, The New York Times reported.
Despite the crash and the NTSB’s criticism, Weinshall remained at the DOT until 2007.
3. After Leaving the DOT, Weinshall Became Vice Chancellor of the City University of New York
Weinshall left the DOT in January 2007 so she could take a role at the City University of New York. Her role there was in Facilities Planning, Construction and Management. The job includes overseeing the planning, building and maintenance of physical structures for the university.
The New York Post reported in 2010 that the job earned her $233,730 a year. In 2014, The New York Daily News reported that Schumer’s net worth was $702,000 at the time, and the couple live in the Park Slope neighborhood. They bought their home for $157,000 in 1982.
4. Weinshall & Schumer’s Daughters are Both Harvard Graduates
Weinshall and Schumer have two daughters, both of whom attended Harvard University, which their father also attended. Weinshall has a Maters in Public Administration from New York University and a B.A. from Brooklyn College.
Alison Schumer works in the tech industry. She interned for YouTube in 2010, and was hired by Facebook as a policy and communications associate in 2011. She was associate manager in policy and communications at Instagram from 2013 to 2015. She currently works as a public affairs manager at Airbnb.
Jessica Schumer also attended Yale, where she earned a law degree. She is chief of staff at The Robin Hood Foundation. In April 2016, she married Michael Shapiro, who worked as an economic policy adviser in Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
5. Weinshall Has Been the Chief Operating Officer at the New York Public Library Since July 2014
In July 2014, the New York Public Library named Weinshall its Chief Operating Officer.
“Iris is a proven leader whose distinguished and successful career in public service will help us make the Library even stronger,” NYPL President Tony Marx said in a statement.
“I am incredibly excited to join the team at The New York Public Library,” Weinshall added. “I have always respected and valued the mission of the NYPL and all it does for the people of the City of New York and beyond. I am looking forward to making an impact and to help steer this important institution.”
The COO oversees the operations at the NYPL, its budgets and $1 billion endowment.