City Councilmember Peter Koo (D-Flushing) is term limited and nine candidates are eager to succeed his seat.
Here are the eight Democrats and lone Republican hoping to represent District 20:
Hailing Chen (D)
Hailing Chen immigrated to Queens from China when he was 14 years old. He learned English from near-scratch, worked as a busboy throughout school and ultimately graduated from St. John’s University. Yet, he found it incredibly difficult to find a career, ultimately settling for a job as an Uber driver. Chen’s work as a labor leader inspired his City Council run, which is highly focused on protecting workers’ rights. He proposes conducting an updated study on what wages can sustain life in New York City, especially as the cost of living increases, as well as raising the minimum wage. Chen also promises to fight to keep small businesses alive after the pandemic, and find a route that allows them to thrive once again. Additionally, Chen aims to provide better educational services to immigrants so they can integrate into society and the workforce more fluidly. Services should also be available in their native languages, Chen believes.
John Choe (D)
John Choe was once chief of staff to a District 20 city councilmember, but now he wants the top job. The Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce executive director aided John Liu during the aughts before becoming Comptroller Liu’s policy director. Choe, a Mitchell-Linden resident, is also a member of Community Board 7. The progressive candidate’s No. 1 priority is to expand and make the city Department of Small Business Services more accessible by ending the Economic Development Corp., which he said is run by and for banks and big corporations, without public accountability. Choe believes mom-and-pops are the way out of poverty for many, including his own parents. His campaign also focuses on expanding affordable housing by legalizing basement and attic apartments, city constructed social housing, and banning new luxury developments until the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure is reformed; bettering the public school system and making classes smaller; and adopting a Safe Communities framework that prevents crime by offering former inmates stable housing, re-entry services, mental health programs and more.
“I’m running for City Council in District 20 to take my decades long fight for the community to the next level. I came to District 20 in 1998 to protest anti-Asian racism. I stayed to make John Liu the first Asian American elected to the City Council and to bring our wonderfully diverse community together around shared goals, such as affordable housing, universal healthcare, excellent education and economic opportunity for all.”
Anthony Miranda (D)
As a retired NYPD sergeant and serving chairperson of the National Latino Officers Association, Anthony Miranda is focused on tackling public safety issues by encouraging transparency in the Police Department. According to his campaign website, the Fresh Meadows resident is focused on cop accountability, which he would achieve by appointing a permanent independent special prosecutor to investigate all cases of police abuse, police misconduct and deaths caused by police officers. Miranda would also forward officer disciplinary cases to the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings, as other city agencies do, and have the Civilian Complaint Review Board hold hearings and impose disciplinary action, not just make recommendations. The former Queens borough president candidate also intends to advocate for the expansion of pedestrian- and bike-friendly areas in Queens, to transform high-speed internet into a public utility for all residents and to invest in climate-resilient infrastructure.
Sandra Ung (D)
Former senior advisor to Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing), attorney and executive director at the Table PAC, Sandra Ung has lived in Flushing since she was 10 years old after her family fled the genocide in Cambodia. She was the first to announce her candidacy for the District 20 race back in July and identified as a coalition builder and community advocate whose main priority is a just recovery from the pandemic. She also intends to rebuild the economy by supporting small businesses and investing in good, union jobs; to expand and protect paid family leave programs that help people care for children, sick loved ones and elderly parents; and to support victims and survivors of domestic violence.
“After fleeing the genocide in Cambodia, my family and I rebuilt our lives here in Queens. I grew up going to our public schools before attending Columbia Law School, and have devoted my life to public service and advocacy. I defended survivors of domestic violence and children as a nonprofit attorney, helping underserved women and children. I have worked in government for fifteen years and I have the experience in navigating our government to hit the ground running on day one and get real results for Queens as we recover from the pandemic.”
Neng Wang (D)
Neng Wang, the director of the Chinese American Planning Council’s Queens Nan Shan Senior Center, has lived in Flushing for more than 37 years. He identifies as a moderate, though he tends to lean conservative. Wang’s main focus is to restore public safety and prosperity by promoting law and order. To attain that goal, he intends on strengthening communication and collaboration between the police and the community they serve. He also promises to support education, particularly by bring a gifted and talented middle school program to Flushing’s School District 25, as well as support small businesses by providing tax relief and establishing dignified care for the elderly.
“I have served for Flushing as Director of the CPC Queens Nan Shan Senior Center for 33 years and I have witnessed firsthand the development and growth of Flushing. Covid-19 has deeply hurt our community, and now more than ever, Flushing needs an experienced and proven leader to guide our community through this troubling time and lead it back to the path of growth and prosperity.”
Dao Yin (D)
Dao Yin, a first generation immigrant, was born and raised in China, and moved to Queens in 1998. He’s worked as a community activist since he became a resident and has worked as the secretary-general of the Shanghai Association of America since 2005. He has also served as executive vice president of the Queens Residents and Voters Coalition since 2018, and Yin made a run to be Queens borough president last year. Yin touts experience as a corporate controller in a variety of industries and his routine work on budgeting, finance, accounting and IT management, all of which he said enables him to balance the city’s budget while improving the lives of his neighbors and still helping businesses make a profit.
Ensuring public safety is Yin’s top priority. He plans to highlight the issue by enhancing policing services while also providing culturally sensitive services the community deserves.
Ellen Young (D)
Ellen Young was the District 22 assemblymember from 2006 to 2008 and now she wants to represent the area in the City Council. A resident of Flushing for 45 years, she states she is “not an idealogue. I’m a pragmatic Democrat who has always focused on getting results.” Her main focus is protecting working and middle-class New Yorkers by ensuring they have access to quality housing, healthcare, public safety and education. Young also promises to prioritize expanding access to affordable healthcare and middle-class affordable housing for seniors; improving public safety and making streets safer by creating hate-crime focused units and strengthening subway patrols; ensuring kids’ classrooms are fully funded and have the technological resources they need; and retaining the Specialized High School Admissions Test.
“As the first Asian woman elected to the state Legislature, I know it takes bold actions to get results. I’m running to be our next Council Member to continue to serve the needs of working and middle-class families. As a former Assembly Member, NYPD Auxiliary officer and small business owner, I know that now, more than ever, we need experienced, capable leaders representing us on the City Council. As Assemblymember, I secured millions for our local parks, playgrounds, libraries, schools and first responders. I passed groundbreaking legislation protecting our environment, creating jobs and building middle-class housing. Together, we can continue getting results for Queens.”
Ming-Kang Low (D)
Ming-Kang Low did not respond to questions by press time. He does not have a website or available campaign social media.
Yu-Ching Pai (R)
Yu-Ching Pai, who also goes by James, is a certified public accountant and has been a community volunteer for many years. He is the lone Republican candidate vying for the District 20 councilmember seat. He is running on a conservative platform that is focused on public safety and economic recovery. Pai believes that the city is in need of balanced and fair policies on issues such as protecting and supporting law enforcement officers and continuing merit-based admissions into high schools. Additionally, he believes that the city needs to cut red tape and lower taxes to stimulate and improve social and economic conditions.
“I want our district to be safe, we should not worry about being the next victim. I want to bring the community together. I want your voice to be reflected and heard, I’m working and fighting for you. We need to continue rebuilding this generation. We need to set our community on a path towards a brighter future.”