While many elected officials aspire to assume higher office one day, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito is heading in the other direction, at least for now. The speaker will step down from her leadership position and her city council seat at the end of the year, but she is still on the ballot this fall as a district leader, which is an unpaid elected position. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.

For City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, there aren't many higher offices for her to run for when she is out of a job early next year.

The incumbents for all four statewide elected positions have given no indication that they plan on stepping down, and Congressman Adriano Espaillat, who represents Mark-Viverito's district, is likely to run again as well.

So, the current speaker is banking on something else: Continue to represent East Harlem, only as an unpaid district leader.

"I am, and have always been, an activist, and an a community activist at that," Mark-Viveritotold me. "I am very concerned about what happens in my neighborhood — I've always been, even before I was an elected official. So, that is just going to continue."

It's an unusual move for someone who ascended to council speaker, one of the most powerful offices in the city. Mark-Viverito has actually been a district leader for eight years and served in that unpaid capacity simultaneously as the elected council person for the district.

This year, she is facing an opponent, Pilar de Jesus, who is also active in the community. She is self-described as "Pilar la Problema," which translates roughly into "troublemaker."

"I am a resident of the community for 36 years of my life, born and raised," the Democratic candidate said. "There are a lot of changes happening to our community in a not so positive way."

So, the question remains what Mark-Viverito will do with the district leader seat if she hangs onto it. Some have speculated that she has her eye on being mayor one day, or maybe even U.S. senator.

"I don't know. I am actually engaging, and that is a very general response," Mark-Viverito said. "I don't know. I have had meetings. I'm trying to figure out exactly what role I want to play. I definitely want to be very visible and involved."

While it's too late for Mark-Viverito to run for mayor this time around, by remaining in the community as an elected official, she is keeping her options open for the 2021 election cycle; Bill de Blasio will be term-limited out if he is re-elected mayor.