A day after NY1 reported on February 15 that State Senator Diane Savino would not run again later this year, a reporter asked her when she made that decision.

“A year and a half ago, on election night,” said Ms. Savino, whose district includes much of Staten Island and a new slice of western Brooklyn that no longer includes Bensonhurst and Coney Island. “You get to the point where you say I did everything I wanted to do in this job.”

When asked how her colleagues reacted when she informed them, she replied, “Most of them didn’t think I was serious” or thought she would change her mind. Once they learned otherwise, she said, “Most of them were very nice. I guess they’ll regret my irreverent way of explaining things.”

Ms. Savino is something of a survivor: the last Independent Democratic Conference member to remain as a state senator. Six of his eight colleagues were forced out of office in 2018 as a wave of progressive candidates were elected to give Democrats a clear, unvetoed majority in the upper house of the state legislature.

The IDC was formed in reaction to the party’s loss of the two-year majority it held until the 2010 election time due to different elements of misconduct.

The IDC struck a power-sharing deal with the new Republican majority, but Ms Savino has vehemently disputed over the years the claim that its members were blocking the implementation of a progressive agenda. She noted that around this time laws favored by progressives ranging from legalizing same-sex marriage to stricter gun control laws were enacted, and that Brooklyn Sen. Simcha Felder’s decision after his election as a Democrat to immediately caucus with the Republicans prevented the Democrats from having a majority even if the IDC returned to the fold.

“I liked being an elected official, but I don’t need to be one,” said the former vice president of Local 371 of District Council 37. “You have to know when it’s time to move on.”

Before leaving, she said she hoped to guide transitional changes in the Tier 6 pension plan that were enacted ten years ago, saying the extension from 20 to 22 years under that law before uniformed workers hired below this level are not eligible for a full pension. , and the less generous allowances it offers compared to previous levels have made it difficult for uniformed city agencies, including the NYPD, to recruit qualified candidates for the jobs.

She has long been a champion of legislation favored by uniformed unions, reflecting both the makeup of her district and a background in the labor movement that has made her particularly critical of those who, in the midst of progressives’ anger over what they perceived as brutal treatment cops gave to some protesters at rallies here following the death of George Floyd – was outspoken in dismissing questions raised in some quarters about whether the police officers should have collective bargaining rights.

Police Benevolent Association President Patrick J. Lynch called her in a statement “a voice of reason in the Senate. In addition to her unwavering support for New York workers and the labor movement, she has advocated for the common sense on matters of public safety.”

She endorsed a former senior assistant, Jessica Scarcella-Spanton, who recently left to work in intergovernmental relations for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

“She was truly amazing as a director of government operations; she really shined during the pandemic,” Senator Savino said. “She has a lot of connections in the neighborhood that she developed on her own.”

It took some cajoling before Ms Scarcella-Spanton decided to run, but it was no surprise to Ms Savino, who initially resisted pleas from then-Senate Minority Leader David Paterson , to run for his seat in 2004.

“We are accidental contestants,” she said of the women. “Boys know when they’re in kindergarten that they want to be president. We’re not looking for leadership, we’re usually persuaded.”

“Excellent but difficult” work

Being a state senator is “a great job,” Ms. Savino said, “but if you care about it, it’s one of the hardest because you have to work really hard to get things done and compromise. “.

When asked what her plans were when she leaves office at the end of the year, she replied, “When I get them, I’ll tell people.”

She continued, “The hardest part is that I haven’t worked for anyone in a very long time,” since when in 1999 Local 371 president Charles Ensley promoted her from a job. employee position to the position of vice-president.

After 23 years of making her own decisions, Ms Savino said, she expected that “the first time someone says to me, ‘You have to do this,’ I’ll probably look at them like, ‘You’re talking to me. ?” ”

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