Gay GOPer challenges Squadron - John Chromezak runs on reform platform

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Some could call him a walking contradiction.

After all, John Chromczak is a gay Republican.

With election day just six weeks away, the Manhattan resident and avid cello player is making a bid for Albany.

His demands for drastic change in Albany, as well as the fact that he’s openly gay, could give him an advantage against Daniel Squadron in downtown Brooklyn.

In an eight-point upset, Squadron defeated 30-year State Senate incumbent Martin Connor during the Democratic primary earlier this month.

In a borough where Democrats outnumber Republicans 8 to 1 – the 25th State Senate District, which spans downtown Brooklyn, Williamsburg and lower Manhattan, reportedly has 136,000 registered Democrats and 19,000 Republicans – Chromczak doesn’t have much of a chance to win.

He’s believed to be the first openly gay Republican to run for the state legislature.

Yet he’s not letting his sexual orientation dictate his candidacy.

“In a nutshell, most people associate being gay with a social issue,” said Chromczak when contacted by this paper. “But for [Log Cabin Republicans] it’s a physical issue. We just happen to be gay on top of everything else.

“I think it’s a beautiful thing for New York,” he said about being the first gay Republican to run for state office. “It’s created a lot of dialogue and it says a lot about how the Republicans have caught up socially.”

Chromczak said that he is having the time of his life trying to win over disaffected voters as well as a few Democrats.

“It’s tough to steer the core Democrats into voting for someone outside of their party for the good of both the city and the state,” he said.

As it turns out, Connor’s defeat may have brought a few Democrats over to Chromczak's side.

“[Connor’s loss] creates an opportunity; people are more attuned to what’s going on in this race. It makes the voters much more receptive,” he said.

“There are also a lot of people out there who think that Connor was thrown under the bus, much like Hillary [Clinton] was in New York,” he added. “They’ve asked me what they could do to help my campaign.”

According to his campaign website, Chromczak wants to reform Albany by creating term limits for the state legislators, creating an independent redistricting panel, and reform campaign finance laws.

“It’s time to put an end to the dysfunction and corruption in Albany,” he said. “I’ll lead the fight to make our state government more transparent and accountable so that working families will have more influence in Albany than the special interests.

“To make Albany work for all of us, I’ll need to fight to change the status quo,” he added.

Chromczak is also in favor of bringing manufacturing jobs back to the city, the construction of new schools in the district and “fixing the MTA’s budget and management problems” so area train stations can be improved and repaired.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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