With less than a week until the Democratic primary election, the field of candidates vying for City Councilman John Liu’s (D-Flushing) seat was whittled down from six to five last week.
An Appellate Court judge last Thursday morning upheld a Queens Civil Court decision made last month that found Constantine Kavadas’ ballot petitions were “permeated with fraud.” Though Kavadas promised further legal action, none had been filed by press time.
The remaining five candidates — John Choe, Yen Chou, S.J. Jung, Isaac Sasson and James Wu — will face off in the Sept. 15 primary for what has been one of the most hotly contested and fiery races in Queens.
Political mudslinging, allegations of racism and spirited debates have all been a part of the campaign thus far and the contest will now turn to the ballot box to determine a winner.
Choe is the former chief of staff to Liu and is arguably the best-known of the candidates in the race. He has hosted food drives, animal rescues and a series of community education seminars in lieu of more traditional campaign events and has run on a platform of experience and bringing the community together to move forward progressively.
Chou is the founder and owner of Aim Academy, a educational institute in Flushing, and a former staffer of Councilman David Weprin (D-Hollis). She has raised more money than any other candidate in the race, which she said she has used in part to employ a panel of experts to formulate plans for moving the district forward on key issues like parental involvement in schools, traffic and parking and development.
Jung, the former executive director of YKASEC, is a newcomer to the political scene but has the backing of the powerful Working Families Party and several neighboring elected officials like Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras (D-East Elmhurst). He said if elected he would fight for fair-share tax reform and bolstering mass transit options and work to bridge ethnic divides that exist within the district.
Sasson, a 68-year-old retired cancer researcher, has lived in Flushing for more than three decades and is the longtime president of the Holly Civic Association. Sasson said he would work to stop what he considers the rampant overdevelopment of the community, bolster police foot patrols in residential neighborhoods and work to reduce obesity among city children.
Wu is a lifetime Flushing resident, Democratic district leader and political consultant who has worked on a number of campaigns in the past and is now running his own. Wu has stressed the need to develop the community “organically” by working to have development and transit options respond to residents’ needs and said he would also push to bring electronic textbooks to the city school system.
District 20 covers the communities of Flushing, Queensboro Hill, Mitchell Gardens, Kissena Park, Harding Heights and Auburndale and part of Whitestone.
Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.
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