Statement of NYS Senator Tom Duane on His Decision Not to Seek Re-Election

June 4, 2012

The announcement I am about to make is not an easy one for me but after a lot of careful thought and deliberation I have made the decision not to run for an eighth term in the New York State Senate.

I was first elected to the State Senate in 1998 and I have worked hard to represent all the people of my Manhattan district for the past 14 years. But 14 years is a long time in Albany, and I have decided it is time for a new chapter in my life.

When I first was elected to the Senate people told me it was a foolish career choice. I was told that an openly gay, openly HIV-positive man would accomplish little in a highly partisan and conservative State Senate. I was not discouraged by this talk; I took it as a challenge and was energized by it. And 14 years later we proved the naysayers wrong. The track record speaks for itself and every success was done in a bi-partisan fashion.

The Marriage Equality Act, the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (SONDA), the Dignity for All Students Act, comprehensive hate crime legislation and the Family Health Care Decisions Act are all major accomplishments that I am proud to have had a major role in, and I am grateful for all the help I had – from so many advocates, activists and other elected officials – in getting these laws passed. However, my greatest satisfaction comes not from those big ticket items but rather from bills, like my Sex Trafficking Victims Second Chance Act, which never grabbed headlines but changed the lives of some of New York's most vulnerable residents for the better. It has always been my mission to help those who never before had a voice in the halls of government. My office has been a place where people no one would listen to could go for help. That is the reason I entered public service and I have never lost sight of that fact.

I am proud of the work I have been able to do at the State Capitol in Albany for the last 14 years. But New York City, not Albany, is my home and it is where the next chapter of my life will begin. That chapter will not be written, however, until my term ends on December 31st of this year. There is still much work to be done and I feel it is my obligation to remain firmly focused on the present.

The fight never ends. And on January 1st, while I may no longer be a Senator, I will continue to be an activist and an advocate. I will hold those positions for life.

Thank you.

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