Opinion: Senator Hoylman arrives

By former Assemblymember Steven Sanders

He’s been in the trenches for over two decades. He was a community activist, chair of Community Board 2, and currently is our state senator. He is one of the most thoughtful and knowledgeable members of the state legislature. I am referring to Brad Hoylman. He won a Rhodes Scholarship and graduated from Harvard Law School. And now he is important.

For only the second time in over a half century, the Democratic Party has won control of the State Senate. And now entering his seventh year in that body Mr. Hoylman is poised to become one of its most impactful and influential legislators.

Several years ago, I had dinner with Senator Hoylman in Albany. I was impressed with his ideas and his energy. He is a progressive but he is also pragmatic. The very two characteristics that are necessary to advance vital legislation for our community and our state.

Albany faces daunting challenges in the year to come, including strengthening tenant protections to stem the loss of affordable housing and improving the rent stabilization laws before they are due to expire in six months. Senator Hoylman will be in the forefront of that fight. He wants to pass meaningful ethics reform to restore confidence in the integrity of public officials and limit outside income that creates the potential for conflicts of interest. He wants to curtail the impact of big campaign contributions as well as provide easier access to voting.

Senator Hoylman has been an outspoken proponent of a woman’s right to control her own body and access to reproductive health services. He is a leader in the efforts to secure full civil rights protections and equal opportunities for all persons regardless of their background or sexual orientation. He is fighting for meaningful measures to prevent hate crimes and when necessary prosecute the perpetrators.

But up until last month those very good ideas were elusive, dashed by the majority party in the State Senate. His bills were left to die in the backrooms of the legislative office building in our state’s capital. But now these crucial issues will finally get a fair hearing. Brad Hoylman is the right person to champion those causes.

Despite what some might call his Hollywood good looks (my wife included), Brad is no flashy showman. He is a serious, conscientious, and articulate legislator who does the hard work and his homework. In short, he is prepared to lead.

At the dinner that Brad and I shared, I remember saying to him how frustrating it must be in the Senate minority and that I hoped one day to see what he could accomplish in the majority. How fortunate for our community and for our state government that Senator Brad Hoylman’s time has arrived.

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