Senate hopeful: Priorities are tenants, education issues

Brad Hoylman with voters

Primary Day is Thursday, September 13. Town & Village is running bios of Democrat candidates for the positions of Manhattan Surrogate’s Court judge and the State Senate seat to be vacated by Tom Duane.

This article was originally published on June 14.


By Sabina Mollot

Last week, following the announcement by State Senator Tom Duane that he wouldn’t be seeking reelection, several names were mentioned as being possible replacements for the representative of what is now known as the 27th senatorial district. However, only one got the blessing and encouragement of Duane himself and that was Brad Hoylman, a nonprofit attorney who the lawmaker called one of his closest friends and someone who would be “a fighter” for the district.

Naturally, it took all of 24 hours for Hoylman, who was running for Christine Quinn’s seat on the City Council, to instead officially throw his hat in the ring for the State Senate.

Hoylman, who left his work in law a few months ago to work on the Council campaign, is also the chair of Community Board 2. Like Duane, he is gay and lives in Greenwich Village with his partner, documentary maker David Sigal, and their 18-month-old daughter, Sylvia.

This week, Hoylman, who spent much of his Saturday petitioning in Stuyvesant Town, spoke to Town & Village about his platform, which he said is very much like Duane’s is that it is pro-tenant, pro-LGBT rights and very much against “irresponsible development” like the planned NYU expansion in Greenwich Village.

“I think the plan is wrong for the community which is essentially a residential neighborhood and it really threatens what makes the Village and NYU special,” he said.

While speaking with residents in Stuy Town, Hoylman said he also heard residents’ concerns about the influx of college students and said that he thought the marketing of apartments to students should stop.

“For CWCapital and Rose Associates to market the property to college students, I don’t think it’s appropriate,” he said. “I understand that they’re putting up partitions in some spaces, and I think it’s outrageous.”

If elected, he said he would work with other East Side politicians “to make sure that stops. In the East Village, we had a problem with that, and now it’s Stuyvesant Town.”

On that issue along with the planned redevelopment of NYU, Hoylman said there are ways to make even super-schools like NYU listen to the community.

“We have levers we can pull to make sure that they listen,” he said. “They have to come before community boards for approvals and to council members for other things.”

On other ST/PCV-related issues, Hoylman said he supports the Tenants Association’s proposed plan to go condo. He also said he was in support of keeping nearby co-op complex East Midtown Plaza, which is currently mired in a war over privatization, in the Mitchell-Lama program.

As a parent, Hoylman also said he was “very dismayed at the attitude of the current administration towards parents and teachers. I want to work to change the system where teachers are demonized and parents don’t have a voice.”

Another issue would be to try and get a bill passed, sponsored by Sen. Daniel Squadron, that would give protections to transgendered people in the workplace.

Politically, Hoylman said he considers Duane a role model, noting his success as getting legislation passed, even while in the minority party, for tenant protections, marriage equality and against hate crime.

As for the fact that the State Senate’s been the place where rent laws typically go only to be shot down by Albany Republicans, Hoylman echoed a sentiment frequently mentioned by Duane, about the need for campaign finance reform as the best way to deal with pols catering to special interests.

In his role as community board chair, Hoylman said he’s been active in matters involving historic preservation and landlord-tenant issues. In one recent deal that CB2 had a hand in, developers of the old St. Vincent’s site agreed to provide a $1 million legal defense fund for tenants and another $1M for arts programs for local schools.

As an attorney, Hoylman began his career in a private practice, and later worked on housing issues in the nonprofit sector, most recently for the Partnership for NYC.

As a political candidate, his work so far has only been to start the lengthy process of gathering enough signatures to not get booted off the ballot by an opponent. He needs 1,000 to run.

The 27th senatorial district covers part of the East Village, ST/PCV, Waterside, Chelsea, Greenwich Village and Hell’s Kitchen.

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