State Senator Diane Savino says it’s time to move on. 

“You know what, I’m not the only person who can do this work,” Savino said Tuesday. “And I think it’s important for me to recognize that it is time for me to step off this stage and onto another one.”

First elected in 2004, Savino tackled labor issues, marijuana legalization and a host of other causes. She was also part of the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference, which split off from the Democrats and worked with Republicans to control the majority in the Senate. The IDC was dissolved in 2018, and Savino rejoined the Democrats as the last serving IDC member. 

What You Need To Know

  • First elected in 2004, state Senator Diane Savino will step down at the end of her term later this year

  • Savino has endorsed her former staffer to replace her, but several candidates plan to run for the newly drawn seat

  • Senate District 23 now includes a much larger portion of Brooklyn in addition to Staten Island

“Well, the Senate has changed completely since I first ran for office. You just think about my license plate number. It’s usually your level of seniority. When I got there, I was number 63. I am number 10 now,” Savino said. “That shows you the level of turnover in the Senate. I am one of ten people who are still here from when I first got elected. There has been tremendous change in the Senate in both conferences. I’ve been in the majority, I’ve been in the minority, I’ve been in the IDC, now I’m back in the majority.”

Savino is endorsing her former staffer, Jessica Scarcella-Spanton, who will run for the open seat in a new district that is set to include a larger portion of Brooklyn in addition to Staten Island’s north shore.

“I think I’ll be able to go in and speak with my experience as a mom,” Scarcella said. “I have two young kids. My kids are 7 and 5. I went through remote learning with them, while working full time from home. I understand the difficulties and challenges we all faced during COVID.”

Also entering the race is former City Council Member and Taxi and Limousine Commissioner David Yassky. The new Senate district includes a sizable portion of his old Brooklyn City Council district. 

“Well, look, you don’t run for something you are not going to win,” Yassky said. “So, I think the electoral map is very favorable. But, you know, I starts with what do you want to accomplish, what do you want to do with that office. Any time I’ve run for office it’s not just to sit there, but to do something.”

District Leader Bianca Rajpersaud is also running. She most recently worked as a lobbyist for non-profit groups in Albany.

“I have the relationships on the ground. The relationships in both the Senate and the Assembly. And I am wanting to utilize those experiences to advocate for my community, for my hometown,” Rajpersaud said.

Since it is an open seat, others could also decide to get into the race. While the bulk of the voters come from the Staten Island portion of the district, insiders believe the larger share of Democratic votes in the primary will come from the Brooklyn portion.