Volume 78 - Number 22 / October 29 - November 4, 2008
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chromczak

Villager photo by Caroline Debevec

John Chromczak campaigning

G.O.P. candidate Chromczak vies with Squadron in state Senate race

By Josh Rogers

Republicans are scarce Downtown, so it’s never easy when they run for office. Yet John Chromczak can’t even rely on the famous line of G.O.P. hero Ronald Reagan: “Are you better off than you were four years now?”

Chromczak is running against Daniel Squadron, who defeated incumbent state Senator Martin Connor in the Democratic primary in September. Squadron argues that his election is more likely to bring change because it increases the chances of Democrats taking control of the state Senate. Chromczak said his victory in an overwhelmingly Democratic district would bring more change to the Senate than a change in parties.

“It would send a very profound message,” he said on Monday.

Chromczak, 38, is a medical technologist who grew up in Utica, N.Y. He moved to the city five years ago and currently lives in the Financial District with his gay partner.

He bristles at the assumption by many that Squadron’s victory on Tuesday is a forgone conclusion in a Democratic district.

The 25th Senate District covers much of Downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn. Chromczak said Republicans warned him, “‘Listen it’s a 9-to-1 [Democrat-to-Republican] voter registration. People aren’t going to like you because you’re a Republican.’ My experience has been when I’ve gone to people…and talked to them about the issues, they’ve been very open-minded,” he said.

Chromczak is in line with many state Democrats on affordable housing and same-sex marriage. But he and Squadron, 28, differ in other areas. Unlike Squadron, Chromczak opposes congestion pricing and backs cuts to almost all subway construction projects to close the M.T.A.’s budget deficit. He favors restrictions on late-term abortions, and backs parental-notification requirements for minors seeking abortions, with some exceptions.

Chromczak said he opposes congestion pricing because it is likely to raise prices in Lower Manhattan due to increased delivery costs, and he is skeptical the money will truly be set aside for transit capital projects.

He said the funds are just not there for big projects now under construction like the Second Ave. subway.

“I think we need to not do capital improvement projects when we can’t simply afford keeping the M.T.A. running,” he said.

The only project he mentioned saving is the Fulton Street Transit Center in Lower Manhattan, which he said will help attract companies to New York.

Squadron said congestion pricing is the “kind of game-changing program we need to be willing to do” because it will provide billions of transit money and reduce traffic.

Chromczak differs with Senate Republicans who have fought to kill rent stabilization and continue the Urstadt Law, which prohibits the city from passing its own rent protections.

However, he said, “I do believe [Republicans] are going to keep the majority and I do think it’s best for the people of the 25th District to be part of that.”

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