The Queens Republican Party made good on its promise to fight for its majority in the State Senate recently when it introduced Flushing businessperson and community activist Peter Koo - who hopes to unseat Democrat Toby Stavisky in the 16th Senate District (16SD).
Koo was unanimously endorsed by the Queens County Republicans at their meeting on Thursday, February 21 and was introduced to the public at Flushing Town Hall the next morning.
“I’m not a politician,” Koo declared. “I’m a dad, a husband, and a New Yorker, first. I love my family and I love Queens,” he said, adding, “I’m running for State Senate because I believe we need better representation in Albany.
Born in Shanghai, China in 1952, Koo emigrated to the U.S. from Hong Kong in 1971. He moved to New York in 1981, after meeting his future wife, Bernadette while visiting family. They have two children.
Koo is President and CEO of the Starside Drugs Pharmacy chain, is also President of the Flushing Chinese Business Association, holds an executive position with the Flushing Business Improvement District (BID) and is a member of Community Board 7.
He also sits on the Queens General Hospital Community Advisory Board and is Trustee of the LaGuardia Community College Foundation.
While widely known in Flushing, Koo faces an uphill battle in the heavily democratic district, which wends its way through parts of Bay Terrace, Elmhurst, Flushing, Forest Hills, Fresh Meadows, Hillcrest, Kew Gardens Hills, Oakland Gardens, Rego Park, Whitestone, and Woodside.
“I know I’m the underdog,” Koo admitted, adding, “I also know that with hard work and vision, anything is possible. I came to this country with virtually nothing and achieved the American Dream.”
After working as a staff pharmacist for several years, he opened his first pharmacy in 1991 expanding to five locations. “I’m going to work as hard on this campaign as I have for everything my entire life,” he said.
Queens Republican Chairman Phil Ragusa remarked, “We are excited about Peter’s candidacy and look forward to the campaign.”
He is the second Asian to run for the Senate. Republican Giash Ahmed was trounced nearly four to one by Senator John Sabini in 2002.
Koo is taking the odds in stride. “The Giants beat the Patriots,” he said.