The office of Nydia Velazquez just sent out a statement on the passing of former congressman Stephen Solarz, who died yesterday of esophageal cancer at the age of 70.
“Stephen Solarz was a dedicated public servant, a strong advocate for Brooklyn and a leading thinker in foreign affairs. He will be remembered not only for what he accomplished for our City, but also his achievements in Asia and the Middle East. New York has lost a native son and the United States has lost an articulate and thoughtful voice on foreign policy. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Nina, and his entire family.”
Velazquez defeated Solarz in a Democratic primary in 1992, despite Solarz’s nearly two decades of incumbency and his profile as a leading light on foreign affairs. As Steve Kornacki explains in an illuminating piece for Capital, Solarz’s district was eliminated after the 1990 census, carved up into three very different districts. Solarz chose to run in the 12th District, which had been drawn with the area’s Hispanic population in mind. Despite emptying his campaign account on television advertising, Solarz only won 28 percent of the vote, to 34 percent for Velazquez.