Diana C. Richardson had long aspired to a career in public service, but elected office wasn’t on her radar—that is, until she received a one-word message on a graded assignment for one of her Baruch master’s degree program classes. “Each student had to write a platform for a hypothetical political campaign,” she recalls, revealing that “not only had I gotten a high grade, but the only comment on the front of the paper was ‘RUN!’”
The comment was not to be taken lightly: It came from political veteran and School of Public Affairs Professor Ned Regan, former New York State comptroller and president of Baruch College from 2000 to 2004. “It was the first time I had considered running for office, and it was one of the most inspirational moments of my life,” says Richardson, who acted on Regan’s advice this past spring, winning a vacated seat on the New York State Assembly in a special election held in May. She represents Brooklyn’s 43rd Assembly District, an area in which she has lived her whole life.
Richardson ran as a candidate of the Working Families Party, whose platform includes access to affordable housing, corrections reform, economic development, access to quality education, and the provision of jobs with wages that enable entry into the middle class. “I take a holistic view of policies and the ways they intertwine and affect the lives of my constituents,” she explains. “We need to create policies at the state level that affect all these areas in order to offer real solutions.”
Armed with her Baruch degree and prior experience working in the state legislature (she was previously director of constituent affairs for State Senator Kevin Parker [D-Brooklyn]), Richardson is enthusiastic about the difference she hopes to make in the quality of life of her constituents. “I get a tremendous sense of personal satisfaction in knowing that the needs of the people I represent are met,” she says.
—Eric Lugo (MA ’14)