New Junior Senator: Daniel Squadron

 

Feature article in The New York Magazine

On a recent night at Bombers, a Mexican restaurant in Albany popular with college students, it’s likely nobody sitting among the discarded wing remnants and giant margarita glasses would have struck you as particularly senatorial. “I didn’t see any other legislators around,” jokes 29-year-old Daniel Squadron, the newly elected Democratic state senator from Carroll Gardens. “But I enjoyed it anyway.”

Don’t get the wrong idea. “Days and nights in Albany I plan to work,” says the Yale graduate. “I like working hard.” He had to in order to take down his primary opponent, 30-year-veteran and former Democratic minority leader Martin Connor. Some high-profile political connections, most notably his former boss, Chuck Schumer, didn’t hurt either. But before his campaign for a more effective, responsive state government won over voters, Squadron was casually dismissed by Connor, who said, “It’s nice he wants to get involved. But he’s a kid.”

Now the “kid” is adjusting to a grown-up life. Just before the election, he got engaged to his girlfriend, Liz Weinstein, a director in the mayor’s Office of Operations. “I think we were both really worried about what it would mean in terms of how much time we could have together, but she was supportive,” he says of his plans to run for office. His friends, too, are experiencing some changes. “I insist that they call me ‘Senator,’ so that’s a little weird, you know, when we’re watching a football game,” he jokes. In reality, he says, although his friends find his new position “a little surreal,” they still grant him “zero respect.”

If one thing remains constant, it’ll be Squadron’s distinguishing facial hair. “I’m going to keep the beard for the same reason I did during the campaign,” he explains, “which was, my girlfriend at the time, my fiancée now, said, ‘You better keep the beard.’ ”