Daniel Squadron doesn’t know what he’s more proud of – the fact that he’s Downtown Brooklyn’s newest state senator or that he officially became a state senator the day that Barack Obama was elected into the White House.
“There has never been a greater honor, words cannot express how proud I am to be on the same ballot as Barack Obama,” Squadron told this paper after easily defeating Republican challenger John Chromczak to secure his seat for the 25th State Senate District. “It’s an incredible honor, as well as an incredible responsibility to be elected on such a monumental day.”
Just like every other registered voter, Squadron said he had to wait an hour and twenty minutes on line to vote himself into office.
“But I’ve never felt more grateful,” he said.
According to unofficial tallies, Squadron secured 71,926 votes to Chromczak’s 11,369 in the 25th State Senate District, which encompasses downtown Manhattan as well as Williamsburg, Brooklyn Heights, Carroll Gardens and parts of Park Slope.
While it was expected that Squadron, 28, would defeat Chromczak, Squadron ended the night with 86 percent of the vote as he and his supporters celebrated in lower Manhattan.
Squadron won handily throughout the district, political insiders said.
It was an easier night than the September primary when Squadron, a former aide to U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, beat incumbent Martin Connor by a slim 1,200 votes.
Connor, a former minority leader, had lead the 25th State Senate District since 1978.
When Squadron won, Connor never called the young politician to congratulate him.
On Tuesday, Chromczak “very graciously” called Squadron to concede the election.
Yet Squadron’s victory was just a footnote to the real action going on Tuesday, as Obama was elected to office with a jubilance and fanfare that hasn’t been seen in Brooklyn over the last forty years – ever since John F. Kennedy was elected president.
Tuesday also marked a historic change in Albany – Democrats were in the majority for the first time in three decades.
But Squadron, whose run for State Senate was supported by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, had been accused of being a Republican in Democrat’s clothing during the primary run – a claim he calls absurd.
“I cannot wait to help the Democratic majority fix Albany,” he said. “I want to make it mean everything it should mean.”
Squadron said that once he’s sworn in, he’s going to focus his energy on improving schools, as well as the city’s infrastructure and transportation system.
Obama’s victory speech in Chicago held different meanings for everyone.
His chest swelling with pride, Squadron, and everyone else within earshot, once again heard the president-elect’s now historic “Yes We Can” mantra.
It’s a mantra that he heard in his head when he ran against an entrenched thirty-year incumbent, and one that he will continue to repeat as he represents his constituents in Albany.
“To me it means that we must never accept things as they are and hope, dream and strive to make changes for the better, whether it’s across the state or across the country,” Squadron said.