Attorney Russell Squire, current chair of the Upper East Side’s Community Board 8 and former president of the Lexington Democratic Club, has long called the neighborhood his home. Running for New York State Assembly to represent District 73, which includes a large portion of the Upper East Side, is a bid to put his community first — this time on a different stage.
“This is the district that I’ve lived in my entire life, essentially,” he said. “I feel a sense of obligation to give back to my community and to do what I can to serve it, and I feel like the best way that I can serve going forward is in the State Assembly.”
Squire, who intends to tackle crime, support recovery post-COVID-19 and push for a larger allocation of funding for the MTA, among other goals, announced his campaign in late December when current Assembly Member Dan Quart made public his decision not to run for reelection. Since then, a growing pool of New Yorkers have joined in vying to represent District 73, which spans the East Side from Murray Hill to Carnegie Hill. Already, Squire’s brought in over $226,000 from more than 160 contributors, winning support from Democratic District Leaders, State Committee Members and activists to strengthen his campaign.
“He cares about where he lives and he cares about improving it,” said contributor Matt Walsh, president of the Lexington Democratic Club and former District Office director for Dan Quart. “Dan has set the bar very high when it comes to serving that district, but I think Russell understands how to meet that — and then exceed that.”
Dynamics of CB8
As the chair of CB8 since 2021, and previously as a member, Squire has built experience working with government agencies and elected officials — in addition to acting as a liaison for community members — to tackle local issues from crime to education and affordable housing. Squire feels that even the inter-board dynamics of CB8 have prepared him for a possible future working with other elected officials in Albany.
“The community board, in a way, it’s a little bit like the legislature in the sense that you have a number of members and different people have different priorities, and ultimately we’re passing resolutions,” he explained.
Also in Squire’s wheelhouse is flipping red districts to blue ones with the Lexington Democratic Club, the sole club of its kind in District 73. Since the local neighborhood has remained “solidly Democratic,” in part due to the club’s impact, Squire said, that often involved helping out in other parts of the city, state and country. Squire has also worked in the private sector as an attorney for the past eight years. “Having that breadth of experience is very important, in addition to having the deep ties to the community,” he said.
If elected, Squire has a plethora of goals driven by constituents’ concerns — increasing public safety, supporting economic recovery in the wake of COVID-19 and championing education and affordable housing among them. “Knowing that you’ll be able to actually afford to live here, knowing that you’ll be able to feel safe here, these are the things that really make the difference in terms of people feeling like they want to stay and can stay or feeling like they have to go somewhere else,” he said.
He has a citywide agenda, too, of allocating more state funding to the MTA and addressing the “existential issue” of climate change.
“I feel a sense of obligation to give back to my community and to do what I can to serve it, and I feel like the best way that I can serve going forward is in the State Assembly.” CB8 Chair Russell Squire