Brian (Brian) Kavanagh (D-SS27)
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Capitol: 518.455.2625
FAX: 518.426.6956
District: 212.298.5565
Senator
Room 512 Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12247

District Office:
250 Broadway
New York, NY 10007
Elected: 2017    Next Election: 2024
DOB: 1/18/1967
Committee Assignments
ChairmanSenate Committee on Housing, Construction and Community Development
MemberSenate Committee on Elections
MemberSenate Committee on Environmental Conservation
MemberSubcommittee on Environment, Agriculture, and Housing
MemberSenate Committee on Social Services
MemberSenate Committee on Energy and Telecommunications
MemberSenate Committee on Consumer Protection
MemberSenate Committee on Codes
Counties Representing
Kings

Bio

State Senator Brian Kavanagh is the chair of the Senate Housing Committee. He represents more than 330,000 residents in New York's 27th State Senate District, which covers lower Manhattan from the Battery to 14th Street, including Tribeca, Chinatown, Little Italy, the Lower East Side, SoHo, NoHo, Greenwich Village and the East Village. (Click here for a map).

Brian was first elected to the Senate in 2017 after representing the 74th District on Manhattan's East Side in the State Assembly, where he was elected to six terms, beginning in 2006. His work has focused on affordable housing, gun violence prevention, environmental sustainability, democracy and open government, and economic and social justice.

HOUSING As Chair of the Senate Committee on Housing, Construction, and Community Development, Brian has built on his decades of advocating for access to high quality, safe, affordable housing for all New Yorkers. In 2022, Brian passed a law to facilitate conversion of under-used hotels to permanent affordable housing, and advanced his proposal in both the Senate and the Assembly for a new large-scale Housing Access Voucher Program, modeled on the federal Section 8 program, to provide rental assistance for New Yorkers experiencing homelessness or facing eviction.

From the earliest days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Brian advocated to stop evictions and foreclosures and to provide funding to keep renters and homeowners from losing their homes. He authored the statewide eviction and foreclosure moratorium, extending it three times, for a total of 22 months. He also succeeded in enacting New York's Emergency Rental Assistance Program and Homeowner Assistance Fund, and allocating $3.5 billion for these programs to date, including the largest investment of state funds for this purpose in the country. Brian continues to advocate for additional federal and state funds to fully cover the need.

In 2019, Brian led the Senate effort to enact the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act, which gave New York the most comprehensive tenant protections in the nation. The HSTPA dramatically strengthened the rent regulation laws, made them permanent, enabled any locality with a very low vacancy rate to adopt rent regulation, created new protections for residents of mobile and manufactured home parks, and instituted other substantial new rights for all renters statewide. In 2022, Brian co-chaired a public hearing on legislation he cosponsors that would expand tenant protections to New Yorkers who don't have rent stabilization by requiring landlords show they have good cause in eviction cases.

GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION In his more than a decade and a half in the legislature, Brian has repeatedly taken on the gun industry lobby and won, helping to reduce gun violence in New York and across the country. He is the founder and chair of American State Legislators for Gun Violence Prevention and New York Legislators for Gun Violence Prevention. In 2022, he led the Senate debate to enact legislation to respond to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down a key part of New York's gun permitting law. The new law created stringent training and background check requirements for permits to carry a gun, banned guns from sensitive areas even with a permit, and enhanced safe storage requirements. Also in 2022, Brian successfully enacted his legislation to establish the State Police as the "point of contact" to conduct background checks on all gun and ammunition sales, ensuring a more thorough review than the federal system alone. In the same year, Brian enacted new rules for gun dealers to ensure guns aren't lost or stolen from their inventory and to prevent gun and ammunition sales to those who are prohibited from purchasing them. He also enacted the nation's first statewide ban on the sale of body armor, which has been used in mass shootings, with exceptions for law enforcement, security jobs, or other positions that require it.

Brian drafted and passed New York's "red flag" law, enacted in 2019, which empowers families, law enforcement, and schools to obtain Extreme Risk Protection Orders to keep guns away from individuals when evidence shows they are likely to harm themselves or others. In 2013, he helped craft the NY SAFE Act, which requires background checks on all gun sales, and bans certain military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. He has also advocated successfully for laws requiring a permit and a minimum age of 21 for purchasing a semi-automatic rifle, safe storage of guns when not in their owner's possession, more support for community-based gun violence intervention, and gun violence prevention research funding. Brian's work earned him the Detective McDonald Law Enforcement Award from New Yorkers Against Gun Violence in 2019.

PERSONAL Before he was elected to the legislature, Brian served on the staff of City Councilmember Gale Brewer, in the administrations of Mayors Ed Koch and David Dinkins, as an attorney at the New York City law firms of Kaye Scholer and Schulte Roth & Zabel, and as a researcher and voting rights advocate at Dēmos.

One of six children of an Irish-immigrant police officer and a community leader who had a distinguished career at a local newspaper, Brian is part of a large, close-knit extended family. He is a lifelong New Yorker and has been a resident of Manhattan for more than three decades. He grew up on Staten Island, attended Regis High School and Princeton University on scholarship, and earned his law degree from New York University, where he was a Dean's Scholar. He has American and Irish passports and serves as Treasurer of the American-Irish Legislators Society. When not working, Brian loves to play chess, read, run or bike through the neighborhoods he proudly represents, and go hiking or backpacking in the Adirondacks, where he hopes to climb all 46 of the high peaks.