NEW YORK — A Democratic state senator who represents parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn said Wednesday that he is resigning because “a sliver of heavily invested special interests” wields too much power in Albany.
Sen. Daniel Squadron announced his resignation in an op-ed piece in the Daily News.
He said Democrats have repeatedly been denied control of the state Senate “by cynical political deals, despite winning an electoral majority.” He was referring to the Independent Democratic Conference, a breakaway faction that collaborates with Senate Republicans.
Squadron complained about New York’s “three men in a room” decision-making process, in which the governor, Assembly speaker and Senate majority leader make deals behind closed doors, and about “loophole-riddled campaign finance rules and a governor-controlled budget process.”
The 37-year-old said he is leaving to work on political reform at the national level.
Squadron said the election of Republican Donald Trump in 2016 reflected “a growing divide — based on geography, background, opportunity and even truth — that threatens our democracy and our future.” He said conservative businessmen Charles and David Koch and others have “manufactured” the divide to serve their own interests.
Squadron said he plans to work with Columbia University economist Jeffrey Sachs and Hyatt hotels heir Adam Pritzker to “launch a national effort focused on addressing this crisis.”
A former aide to Democratic U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, Squadron was first elected to the Senate in 2008 at the age of 28. He made a name for himself in the Senate as a policy expert, a frequent floor debater and a leading advocate for campaign finance and ethics reforms.
Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, a Yonkers Democrat, called Squadron a “fantastic senator, a dedicated public servant and a dear friend.”
“He worked tirelessly to make our state a better, fairer, and more ethical place,” she said in a statement. “I look forward to working with him on the national level to spread progressive values and responsible government. I thank Daniel for his service and wish him the best of luck on this new challenge.”
Squadron’s last day will be Friday.
Associated Press writer David Klepper contributed to this report.