State Senator Brad Hoylman, who’s represented parts of Chelsea, Midtown and the East Village for nearly a decade, is now up against a new competitor — in a West Side district with new lines and a new number, too. He’s not resting on his laurels. “I’m going to run like this is the toughest challenge of my life,” he said.
Since assuming office in 2013, Hoylman has defeated a smattering of Democratic and Republican candidates for what was, until this year, a seat representing District 27’s meandering sprawl through Lower and Midtown Manhattan. Now, the novel District 47 — a number co-opted from an existing Upstate district — excludes the East Side to run from Chelsea straight up through the Upper West Side. A newly-drawn District 27 covers only Downtown Manhattan, formerly part of District 26.
It’s the result of a confusing and frustrating redistricting process that forced a second, delayed August 23 primary date. “It’s a travesty that the primary has been bifurcated,” Hoylman said. “We’re asking a lot of voters to show up multiple times for different races.”
In District 47, it’s Maria Danzilo, a lawyer, nonprofit founder and mother, who’s taking on Hoylman — on fresh turf.
The Same Heart
Where the old District 27 meandered from the East Village through Chelsea to wind up north of Columbus Circle, the recently-adopted District 47 is a far more streamlined slice of Manhattan. Some neighborhoods are new to the district in which Hoylman has launched his run, but not unfamiliar to the longtime state Senator himself, who ran for Manhattan Borough President last year. “I’ve shaken a lot of hands on the West Side of Manhattan,” he said.
Hoylman also briefly flirted with a run for Congress in District 10, which quickly developed into a crowded field.
Despite the updated state Senate maps, District 47 (like the former District 27) still boasts “the heart of Manhattan’s LGBTQ population,” as Hoylman put it, encompassing destinations like The Stonewall Inn and neighborhoods including Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen. Hoylman believes he’s still the one for the job. “As the only openly-LGBTQ member of the Manhattan Senate delegation, it’s an honor and a responsibility, I have to say, to represent” the district, he said.
“Provide For The Most Vulnerable”
As for Hoylman’s determination to continue to do good by his changing district, he points to his prior state Senate wins. “I bring to the table a legislative record that I think is worthy of my desire to continue to serve,” he said.
That record includes passing over 60 Senate bills. Hoylman’s banned “conversion therapy” and flavored e-cigarettes; he’s pushed for COVID-19 vaccines since the start of the pandemic (being among the first to participate in vaccine trials) and authored legislation to extend vaccines to young children; and he continues to tackle gun safety and reproductive rights in the wake of Supreme Court decisions jeopardizing both.
To combat gun violence, Hoylman wrote legislation banning “bump stocks,” devices that increase firing speed when attached to semi-automatic rifles, and “ghost guns,” firearms that can be assembled from home and lack serial numbers, making them untraceable. He also advocated for Times Square to be included among the “sensitive places” where guns are now prohibited, after legislators were called back to Albany at the start of the month to revise the state’s gun laws.
As for abortion rights, Hoylman was a cosponsor of the 2019 Reproductive Health Act, which codified abortion access into New York law, and authored legislation with Assembly Member Deborah Glick that will require the New York Department of Health to “investigate so-called ‘pregnancy crisis centers,’” which “deceive patients” possibly seeking abortion, Hoylman said.
The Supreme Court’s “overturning of Roe is probably one of the most chilling decisions that I’ve read and that I’ve been forced to respond to,” he said. “We have to be prepared for what comes next from the Supreme Court on our rights to privacy, and that includes contraception, marriage equality and even our right to have intimate relations with a member of the same sex.”
Many of his priorities fall in line with a single sentiment: that the government’s “responsibility,” he explained, is to “provide for the most vulnerable.”
“I’m going to run like this is the toughest challenge of my life.” Brad Hoylman