A Brooklyn Heights state senator attacked the institution he served on Wednesday when he unexpectedly resigned his post, calling New York state government a den of corruption that he vows to clean up thanks to his new job at an organization that will work to influence state politics.
State Sen. Daniel Squadron (D–Brooklyn Heights) made his announcement in a New York Daily News op-ed that blasted the status quo in Albany, and said that after nine years of working in a body that functions on back room deals and crooked loop holes, he is leaving because he can do more to stop corruption out of government than he could in it.
“Whether you talk about the huge influence of heavily invested special interests, or three men in a room negotiating, there are a lot of limits to what an individual member can do,” he told The Brooklyn Paper. “It’s very frustrating when you can’t even get a vote on bills that would have an enormous impact, or when you have to compromise local bills to just to get a vote on it.”
Squadron called New York’s a “particularly seedy” example of state government in his op-ed, noting how Albany barely quivered after leaders of the Assembly and Senate were each convicted of corruption in 2015.
He also railed against the “cynical political deals” that have continued to prevent him and Democratic colleagues from taking control of the upper house — even when the party won an electoral majority in the Senate in 2016.
The outgoing pol, who officially leaves office on Friday, said he plans to launch a national organization focused on political and policy work at the state level, which he hopes will give him more of an opportunity to combat the corruption that drove him to resign.
“I think having the opportunity to impact multiple states, even if I’m not part of the legislative body, is a real opportunity to make a difference,” Squadron said.
But the timing of his decision to leave office is odd for someone who claims that he has the voters’ best interests at heart.
Because Squadron resigned mid-term and close to an election cycle, his seat will be filled without a primary and candidates will be chosen by local political clubs, according to a veteran New York City election lawyer Jerry Goldfeder.
Still, Squadron, who also represents parts of Manhattan, called the practice of choosing candidates via county committees “lousy,” and said he will work with Democratic bosses in both boroughs to ensure voices on each side are heard.
Manhattan Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh declared his candidacy for the 26th Senate District just hours after Squadron’s announcement, and the departing pol described the hopeful as “great,” but did not go so far as to endorse his colleague in the lower house.
Brooklyn Heights attorney Martin Connor, who served in the state Senate for 30 years before Squadron took his seat, said he has no plans to try to win it back.
“Somebody would have to give me a lot of good reasons to run,” he said. “I can’t think of any.”
Squadron is not the only pol whose seat will be filled by political appointees this election cycle — Councilman David Greenfield (D–Borough Park) announced last month he will not seek reelection this November, and named ally Kalman Yeger to replace him on the ballot.