When State Senator Martin Connor was endorsed by the Lambda Independent Democrats, the borough’s leading Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Transgender political club, he was pleasantly surprised.
But he wasn’t that surprised.
Despite rumors to the contrary, as well as a factual inaccuracy in this paper, Connor said this week that he has had a longstanding positive relationship with the borough’s LGBT community.
In fact, records show that the Lambda Independent Democrats had routinely endorsed Connor for re-election up to 2006, when they endorsed openly gay challenger Ken Diamondstone.
Sources interviewed told this paper last week that Connor and Lambda had been at odds since he came into office 30 years ago.
At their endorsement meeting, members opted to go with Connor over his current challenger, Daniel Squadron, because of Connor’s record as well as the experience he’ll offer the State Senate if it becomes Democratic this year.
With the endorsement win behind him, Connor said that he’s feeling good about the upcoming primary.
“It’s frustrating because he [Squadron] is campaigning full-time since January, while I’ve been up here in Albany,” said Connor during a break during session on Wednesday. “But that’s what the people hired me to do.”
Connor said that he has advocated for many progressive issues in the State Senate over the years and even co-sponsored the Senate’s version of the Assembly’s Gay Marriage bill last year, which the Republican dominated Senate wouldn’t bring to the floor.
During his tenure, he put forth one of the first same-sex non-discrimination bills in the civil service and pushed to include sexual orientation into the state’s anti-bias crime law. He also advocated for a new gay civil rights bill.
He has drafted over 100 bills that have become law, one of the first being a measure that demanded that motorists stop behind school buses when they are loading and discharging passengers.
At the time the bill, which is now considered a common-sense measure by many, was opposed by then Mayor Ed Koch, who said that the law would halt traffic.
“Each of the bills have a story and have helped people in some way,” he said.
With the Democrats poised to take over, Connor said that if re-elected he would make sure that the Senate makes good on the progressive promises that they have made year after year, but could never provide.
“There have been a lot of issues that we [Democrats] said we are going to do when we take the majority, such as allowing for more transparency and public input, the creation of a non-partisan redistricting commission, committing to campaign finance reform and affordable initiatives,” he said. “But once we get there, there will be a natural temptation to close ranks and keep the power.”
“I’m going to insist we keep our word,” he said.
Unfettered by the endorsement of Lambda and other Brooklyn clubs, a spokesperson for Squadron said that the challenger is “continuing to build a strong grassroots campaign.”
“We are proud to have strong support in the LGBT community,” the spokesperson said.