According to Jon Greenfield, a campaign strategist working for the re-election of Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing), Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Flushing) failed his constituents by going to a fundraiser for his wife — Alison Tan, who is vying against Koo in a primary — on the last day of the regular state legislative session.
“He made a priority of campaigning for his wife when he should be legislating in Albany,” the Democratic operative told the Chronicle.
But according to Kim, the real story is a bit more nuanced: Albany leaders were trying to work out a deal on June 21, the last day of the session, on mayoral control for New York City schools. And Kim — correctly, it turned out — did not think a deal would be reached. So, he said, he left in the late afternoon after making sure it was OK with his Assembly colleagues.
“I asked my conference leader if I could be excused,” the assemblyman told the Chronicle as he headed back up to Albany for the special session on mayoral control. “And there was no problem from our Majority Conference.”
The Flushing lawmaker has no regrets.
“I’d choose to be a better husband any given day than a good politician,” said Kim, who endorsed Koo’s re-election bid before his wife launched her challenge. “Their campaign should be focused on the campaign itself.”
Tan took a shot at Koo, a former Republican, on Wednesday for voting against two Council bills in 2013 that became law. One added more factors — gender, sexual orientation, age and housing status — to what can be considered biased policing. The other requires a Department of Investigation monitor to review NYPD policies and recommend changes.
She sent Queens Democrats a letter to stop supporting the councilman because of it.
“By endorsing Mr. Koo’s candidacy, you are supporting and emboldening a de facto Republican who, for years, has publicly stated his support for racial and ethnic profiling and stop and frisk,” wrote Tan, a managing director at real estate capital advisory firm Ackman-Ziff.
The councilman, who first ran for and won office as a Republican, pointed to other parts of his record in response to Tan’s critique.
“In the Council, I’ve been able to secure over $1 million for security upgrades and proudly voted to pass all eight bills of the Mayor’s landmark Criminal Justice Reform Act,” Koo said in a prepared statement.