After extensive conversations with my colleagues and careful deliberation, I have decided to support the legislation put forward by Mayor Bloomberg to extend term limits from two to three terms.

In addition to Council Members, I have also talked with citywide leaders in the public and private sector – from business leaders to labor officials to good government advocates.

Everyday New Yorkers have not been shy about voicing their opinions on this issue, either. I’ve heard from many of them, and respect all of their views.

This decision is not one that I take lightly and has come with a great deal of deliberation, dialogue and debate.

We are facing a global economic crisis that has led to unprecedented challenges for our City. Indications are, those challenges will continue to grow more severe.

New Yorkers are watching as the global economic crisis worsens day by day, and unease is increasing – about how to pay the rent, about the security of our 401-k’s, and about whether we can afford our children’s college education or the next health care bill.

In these difficult times I believe voters should have the choice to keep current leadership. If voters are not happy with any of us, they have the right to vote us out of office next November.

New Yorkers are tough, and New Yorkers are strong. Together as a city, we will weather this economic downturn.

Even so, we need to be prepared to face these challenges, to take action that will not only see us through difficult times but also leave us stronger in the end. This means we will be confronted with difficult decisions and conflicting opinions.

This Mayor and this Council have worked together over the past three years; together, we have led the City.

We have worked across party lines and in the best interests of the City.

We have led as fiscal stewards; when we could have spent surpluses, together we’ve made responsible choices, paying future expenses and saving for upcoming costs.

As we move forward in these uncertain times, continuity of leadership will allow us to continue our work for the City – making tough budget decisions while keeping our streets safe and protecting vital city services.

To extend term limits legislatively gives New Yorkers a choice at the polls next year, the opportunity to vote for me, or any or my colleagues, or Mike Bloomberg, for another four years – or to make a change. That’s the essence of democracy.

Next year, I’ll work hard to urge every New Yorker to make their voices heard – loud and clear – in our local elections.

I understand this is an issue New Yorkers feel strongly about.

Therefore, to make sure we hear from everyone who wishes to express his or her views, we have scheduled two hearings, this coming Thursday and Friday.

Both hearings are entirely open to the public, and every person who wishes to testify will have the opportunity to do so.