After his surprising announcement earlier this week, Daniel Squadron is spending his last day in office representing the 26th Senate District in Albany. There will be plenty of time in the weeks ahead to discuss the flawed process to replace him and to speculate about who will likely succeed Squadron at the state capitol. Today, though, we wanted to take a moment to acknowledge his service to this community.
No matter what you thought of him, it was impossible to deny that Squadron worked incredibly hard for the neighborhoods he served in Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. In almost a decade in office, he was the driving influence behind many Lower East Side initiatives.
A few examples:
—The partial funding of Pier 42, which will one day become an expansive recreational area.
–Enactment of legislation to regulate intercity buses in Chinatown (yes, it remains a highly controversial topic to this day; in spite of many efforts by the senator to fully implement the law, the issue is far from resolved).
–A sustained campaign to improve MTA service and facilities, including small-scale improvements in the East Broadway subway station.
After announcing his resignation on Wednesday, Squadron spent most of the day on the phone, talking with constituents and supporters about his decision to walk away from the dysfunction and political corruption that plagues state politics. In an interview with The Lo-Down, he said, “It was an emotional decision because I have had the privilege of being part of all sorts of communities (throughout the 26th Senatorial District).”
Squadron noted that he first ran for office in 2008 promising, “active representation” in the district. The senator, who’s going on to help elect Democrats at the national level, said, “I truly believe that allowing your constituents to drive what you do in office and to really listen to their concerns is critical in making people believe in government again.”
Looking back on his time in office, Squadron said he’s especially proud of his work during Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Irene, both during those natural disasters but also afterward when the conversation shifted to protecting low-lying communities from future storms. As for Pier 42, he said, “We’re not there yet” (the project requires about $70 million in additional funding), “but we’re getting there, and it’s really important that advocacy for Pier 42 continues.”
In the short term, many of Squadron’s legislative projects will fall to Yuh-Line Niou, who was elected last year to replace Sheldon Silver in the state Assembly. In a statement released this week, Niou said she’s up to the challenge. At the same time, she said, Squadron will be missed: “I want to thank Sen. Daniel Squadron for his service as a progressive champion in Albany, as well as in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. I could not have asked for a better partner in the legislature.”
In spite of his resignation, Squadron’s office will remain open and his staff will continue dealing with constituent issues. Click here for contact information.