Election 2016

Chuck Schumer wins re-election to United States Senate seat

Daily Orange File Photo

Chuck Schumer visited Syracuse University in February to discuss the issue of college affordability. On Tuesday, he earned re-election to the Senate.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) won re-election to his position on Tuesday, defeating Republican challenger Wendy Long in a landslide.

It marked Schumer’s third time being re-elected to the Senate since he was first elected in 1998. But this re-election was a particularly important one for Schumer, who is now expected to succeed Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) as the Senate Democratic leader. Reid plans to retire next year.

Currently, Schumer is the third-ranking Democrat in the Senate, behind Reid and Senate minority whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.).

Schumer cruised to an expected victory over Long, a lawyer who had likened herself to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump during her campaign. Schumer entered Election Day with more than a 99.9 percent chance of victory, according to FiveThirtyEight’s polls-plus forecast.

In a victory speech Tuesday night, Schumer touted his desire to make life easier for low-income and middle-class families — calling it his motivation in politics. He added that he was humbled that New Yorkers had again re-elected him to the Senate.

“And I promise this: I will work every day to be deserving of your trust,” he said. “I’ll never forget what it means that you gave me the honor of working for you.”

Schumer’s speech then turned into a ringing endorsement of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. He said politicians need to raise the minimum wage, tackle climate change, pass comprehensive immigration reform and “get a functioning Supreme Court” with nine judges.

He added that the U.S. government “can do all of this and more” with Clinton as president.

“I know, because I’ve seen her work up close,” he said, referencing their time together in the Senate. Clinton served as a senator for New York from 2001 through 2009.

During the 114th session of Congress — the current session — Schumer’s notable votes have included a vote against the Iran nuclear deal, a vote approving the National Defense Authorization Act and a vote in support of a bill allowing federal agencies and private entities to share information about cyber threats.

During his time in the Senate, Schumer has sponsored 21 bills that have become law and co-sponsored 122 more. In recent years, that has included a bill aimed at preventing suicide among veterans, a bill aimed at protecting victims of trafficking and a bill aimed at reducing opioid addictions. In New York state and central New York, the opioid epidemic has been particularly rampant.

Schumer visited Syracuse University in February, when he focused on college affordability. He held a brief press conference about the Reducing Educational Debt Act, a bill that would make the first two years of community college free. The RED Act would also enable student loan borrowers to refinance at lower rates and increase the number of Pell Grants, which, unlike loans, do not have to be paid back. The bill was officially introduced March 15 and introduced to the Senate’s Committee on Finance, where it is currently sitting.

The senator also made SU-related news in January, when he took Sean McAllister, then a junior in the Martin J. Whitman School of Management, to the 2016 State of the Union Address as his lone guest.

Schumer serves on several committees in the Senate, including the Committee on Finance; the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; the Committee on the Judiciary; and the Committee on Rules and Administration.

On Tuesday, Schumer acknowledged the possibility that he would become the Senate Majority Leader if Democrats were to gain control of the Senate.

“But I promise you if I get that honor, I’ll be working for New York as hard as ever,” he said.

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