2013 New York City Rising Stars: Edgar Santana

Written by Aaron Short on . Posted in Features, Rising Stars.

Age: 35  |  Position: Construction Market Representative, Laborers-Employers Cooperation and Education Trust

Politics did not come naturally to Edgar Santana.

Santana grew up in a nonpolitical household the Bronx, went to college at Fordham and volunteered for Hillary Clinton’s Senate campaign before he got his first major political gig working for the state Democratic Party.

He quickly was drawn to union culture thanks to his boss, Raymond Pocino, who would become a mentor.

“I look up to the guy. He’s been in labor for most of his life, started out in the field in heavy highway,” Santana said. “Ray is so different from other union leaders. He stands out to me the most.”

Santana primarily advocates for commercial construction laborers and their signatory contractors, including the workers who are building the Freedom Tower. He hasn’t been to the top of the tower yet, but he has toured its shell.

“Seeing a car and an ambulance at a pancake of an inch from where we were struck me,” he said. “It reminded me of the gravity and enormity of the damage done that day.”

When he isn’t championing the interests of laborers in City Hall, Santana is busy amassing a comic book archive in his Yonkers home.

“I’m into Walking Dead right now, but my second favorite is Batman,” he said. “He’s a normal guy who always tackles the big problems and finds a way to overcome it. He doesn’t have superpowers; he has to figure it out.”

If you were not working in politics or government, what would you be doing? “I would be in a technology firm or working for Google in its research department. I am a big technology geek. I have an iPhone 5, an Android Motor Razor, a Mac Mini, a MacBook Air—I’m into how it makes managing my life easier.”

What is your favorite place in New York City? “Merchant’s Cigar Bar on 62nd and First. I haven’t been in a while, but it’s always the place I end up at.”

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