Candidates eye Meng’s Assembly seat

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Several hopefuls in two buzzing primaries have their eyes set on the hotly-contested and potentially open State Assembly seat in the brewing District 40 race.

The seat is currently held by Assemblymember Grace Meng, who is making a run for Congress in the 6th District. While Meng’s spokesperson did not directly address whether or not she would seek re-election if her campaign falls short of Capitol Hill, the race to take her place is heating up.

GOP runner Phil Gim got the backing of the Queens County Republican Party and focused his campaign around restoring power — and more jobs — to voters during his June 4 campaign kickoff. The candidate, who was born in China, said small businesses were the engines of job creation and said he has plans to make the state friendlier to mom and pop shops.

“This just can’t be about Wall Street anymore,” said Gim, 60, of Whitestone. “This is about Main Street, Francis Lewis Boulevard, Parsons Boulevard and Northern Boulevard.”

Gim, a former postal worker and census supervisor, is a father of four and resident of Queens since 1986. He will face off with Flushing community activist Sunny Hahn during the September 13 primary.

Hahn, who announced her candidacy on May 31, centered her first run for office on her vision for putting Flushing on the map as the “greatest destination in New York City in the 21st century” and uniting both immigrant and American-born communities.

“We really have to transcend and have to think collectively as Americans,” said Hahn, 60, a retired city human rights specialist. “Don’t give up. If you give up, America will be in trouble. Start dreaming again.”

Hahn, a Korean native, hopes to gain the endorsements of the Independent and Conservative Party but said she would plow forward on the campaign trail regardless.

Candidate Ron Kim will be running on the Democratic ticket with endorsements from the Queens County Democratic Organization and City Comptroller John Liu.

The South Korean-born community activist began his career in public service as an aide to then-Assemblymember Mark Weprin before moving on to work for the city’s Department of Buildings and the Department of Small Business Services. He served as vice president of the Korean American Association of Greater New York and currently advocates on behalf of children with special needs and small businesses.

“Public service is about protecting the most vulnerable among us while ensuring that opportunity exists for all our citizens,” said Kim, a Flushing resident. “As an immigrant and the son of a Vietnam veteran, I have seen just how much is possible in this great country.”

Democratic hopefuls Ethel Chen, Myungsuk Lee and Yen Chou have reportedly decided to run for the seat as well, although they could not be reached for comment in time for press.