By Sabina Mollot
A few hours after State Senator Daniel Squadron announced he’d be leaving Albany, citing special interests and corruption preventing true democracy from taking place as a reason, Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh said he’d be running for the position.
Since state elections aren’t until next year, the election for the Senate seat, which covers downtown Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn, will be a special election. The date would be determined by the governor though it will likely be in November during the general election for citywide races. Prior to that candidates will be nominated by the county committee for each party.
According to State Senator Brad Hoylman, this process tends to be an insider game, which would make it easier for a well-known candidate like a current elected official to get the nod from the party as opposed to an unknown aspiring lawmaker. While Hoylman admitted he thought this process could use some reform to become more egalitarian, he nonetheless praised his colleague, an 11-year veteran of Albany, as a potential senator.
“I think he’s proven he’s an effective legislator,” said Hoylman, adding that he’d be happy to have Kavanagh join in the effort of Senate Democrats to regain a true majority.
In a prepared statement released on Wednesday afternoon, Kavanagh said he would continue to fight for the issues he now prioritizes in the Assembly.
“I am running for State Senate to fight for our communities in Manhattan and Brooklyn and create the progressive, reform-minded Senate that New Yorkers deserve,” said Kavanagh. “For 11 years in the Assembly, I have advocated for my constituents and stood up when government in Albany has failed to function as it should. As a State Senator, I will fight for the things that matter to New Yorkers: strengthening rent laws and preserving affordable housing, increasing access to quality schools, safeguarding the environment, promoting economic and social justice, preventing violence in our communities, and creating a fairer and more accessible political process.”
As for what motivated Kavanagh to run for a new office when he is already has a seat in the Assembly where Democrats have a majority, Kavanagh said the constituent reach is broader, and more diverse, district-wise for senators.
He added, “A lot of things come down to the Senate. State Senator Daniel Squadron is a fantastic advocate (for tenants) and my goal is to continue that work.”
He also wants to continue pushing for stronger rent laws, closing the LLC Loophole and helping Democrats gain control of the house. He added that while he’d miss serving the 74th Assembly District if elected, he would still continue to serve a portion of it. As a resident of the East Village on Avenue C he is currently in Squadron’s district, not Hoylman’s. Kavanagh previously lived in Tudor City and in Murray Hill.
Hoylman also gave his thoughts on Kavanagh’s decision to run for Senate, saying that despite the fact that Senate Democrats currently get blocked on almost every agenda, he believes things are changing.
“I think there is great opportunity in the Senate,” said Hoylman. “We’re on the cusp of majority control. It’s an interesting and exciting place to be.”
If Kavanagh does succeed Squadron, this won’t change the Democrat/Republican ratio in the Senate and a Republican would have a tough time getting elected in the district. The 26th Senate District covers Battery Park City, Chinatown, the East and South Villages, the Financial District, Little Italy, the Lower East Side, SoHo, and Tribeca in Manhattan and Brooklyn Heights, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, the Columbia Waterfront, DUMBO, Downtown Brooklyn, Fulton Ferry, Greenpoint, the Navy Yard, Vinegar Hill and Williamsburg.