Alumnus Luján Begins Term as NY County Legislator
In January CEU alumnus Kevindaryán Luján (IRES ’14) took office as a legislator in New York State, representing Orange County’s 4th District. He is the first Latino, and possibly the youngest, legislator in county history.
His first bid for office occurred shortly after returning stateside from Hungary. Provoked by illegal dumping in his home town of Newburgh, New York, in 2015 he ran an unsuccessful campaign for city council.
Afterwards he worked on a state Senate campaign, as well as in the Clinton Primary. But it was after a series of speaking engagements regarding immigration and social justice issues that he was approached to run on the democratic ticket for the county seat, which he won, following a four-way primary contest, in November 2017.
A lifelong progressive, Kevindaryán said he never envisioned himself in local politics, adding that his surprise victory demonstrates that strategy and commitment can still win elections, as his did.
“We weren’t the richest campaign,” he said. “People say you can’t win without money. It’s not true."
Kevindaryán credits his time at CEU – not least his stint as Student Union Treasurer – with preparing him for politics. He’s currently sponsoring a ‘campaign school’ for young leaders at several American colleges and universities, and says he’d consider doing likewise at his alma mater.
“I’d love to see more young leaders come from CEU, go back to their home countries and run for office,” he said.