Tag Archives: Ron Kim

Primary guide: Meet the candidates in Senate District 16


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

ELECTION

As the clock ticks closer to state primaries on Thursday, September 13, The Courier would like to provide you, the reader and the voter, with a fair, detailed guide of who is running in your district. We have provided a list of candidates, who they are, what they stand for and what they want to continue to do if they go on to the general election in November.

 

SENATE DISTRICT 16

 

Name: John A. Messer

Party: Democrat

Current Position: Businessman and local attorney

Personal Info: Messer is the managing member of Manoussos & Messer, PLLC and a small business owner in the security and renewable energy fields. He has also served at Fort Totten in Queens as a Judge Advocate General and Captain in the Army. Messer was a government scholar who has worked with the mayor’s office of the city of New York in economic development and corporate retention. He has a master’s degree in government and politics from St. John’ University and a law degree from Brooklyn Law School. He is also a real estate licensing instructor and a guest lecturer for the City University of New York. He and his wife, Wendy, have three children, Ryan, Alex and Jackie, and live in Oakland Gardens.

Issues/Platform: As a former Army Captain, Messer hopes to pass legislation supporting veterans who have served overseas and their families. Through his experience in economic development, he supports economic development strategies which support our small businesses and attract long-term growth where our state is best able to complete. He supports education initiatives that will reduce crowding in our schools and gives teachers the flexibility to teach, and senior services that support those on fixed-incomes so that they can remain healthy and independent. Messer also stands behind legislation that would restore trust and accountability to our state government. He states that non-profits which receive state funding should be thoroughly vetted and that we need to close the loopholes which allow legislators to funnel funds to organizations and family members in which they have an interest. He wants to increase traffic safety regulations to make our community safer and will work to streamline government operations to eliminate overlapping functions which waste our money.

 

Name: Toby Ann Stavisky

Party: Democrat

Current Position: New York State Senator

Personal Info: As the first woman from Queens elected to the State Senate and the first woman to chair the Senate Committee on Higher Education, Toby Ann Stavisky has been committed to increasing minimum wage and supporting education throughout her career. Stavisky was elected to the Senate on November 2, 1999, and has subsequently been re-elected seven times.
She resides in Whitestone and has one son, Evan, who is married. She is a native New Yorker who was born and raised on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

Issues/Platform: Stavisky is committed to increasing the minimum wage, passing the New York State Dream Act, and working every day to retain and create good jobs for Queens. As a former teacher in the New York City schools, Stavisky knows that good schools are the key to a better future for all our kids.
As a public official driven by principle, Stavisky knows it’s time that we make Albany accountable to the people. That’s why she’s fighting in the legislature to increase the level of transparency in government and start making Albany work for New Yorkers again. Stavisky has been called “a model for independent leadership in the New York State Senate” and she will continue to build upon her reputation as one of the most honest and upfront public officials in New York.

 

Meet more candidates:

Senate District 10

Senate District 15

Assembly District 25

Assembly District 33

Assembly District 38

Assembly District 40

 

Primary guide: Meet the candidates in Senate District 15


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

ELECTION

As the clock ticks closer to state primaries on Thursday, September 13, The Courier would like to provide you, the reader and the voter, with a fair, detailed guide of who is running in your district. We have provided a list of candidates, who they are, what they stand for and what they want to continue to do if they go on to the general election in November.

 

SENATE DISTRICT 15

 

Name: Juan Reyes

Party: Republican

Current Position: Lawyer

Personal Info: Juan Reyes is a Queens native who has campaigned himself as “the Irish-Italian guy with the Spanish name.” Reyes is a graduate of Quinnipiac Law School. After graduation, he went to work for former senator and former presidential candidate Bob Dole. Reyes worked in various positions in former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s second administration. He lives in Forest Hills with his wife and their seven-year-old and twin five-year-old daughters.

Issues/Platform: Reyes’ platform ranges from the economy to social and educational issues. He has campaigned that, if elected, he will push for a tax policy that will allow growth in the state. The Forest Hills resident is also against increasing minimun wage, claiming on his campaign website that it would cut more than 43,000 jobs. Reyes has also pushed for diversifying New York’s economy. Reyes also supports the city’s stop-and-frisk policy, saying that it saves lives and keeps the city safe. Additionally, he has supported literacy in children, and a standard of English in the school system.

 

Name: Eric Ulrich

Party: Republican/Independent

Current Position: Councilmember for the 32nd District

Personal Info: Eric Ulrich was first elected in the February 2009 special election and subsequently re-elected in the November general election later that year. At 27, he is currently the youngest serving member of the council and serves as Minority Whip of the Republican delegation. Ulrich was born and raised in Ozone Park where he still lives today. He attended neighborhood public and parochial schools, P.S. 63 Old South and Nativity BVM, respectively. After graduating from Cathedral Prep Seminary, Ulrich attended St. Francis College on a full scholarship, where he met his wife, Yadira. They were married in 2009 and are expecting their first child on October 29.

Issues/Platform: Ulrich’s main concerns include bettering the economy and job creation for New Yorkers. Good-paying jobs are crucial to Ulrich. Life-long Queens residents can no longer afford to live in New York and have moved away. Ulrich has supported the middle class residents, and says, if elected, he will continue to work for their rights. In City Council, Ulrich notes he’s worked to increase the quality of life in his district, targeting vandalism and graffiti in neighborhoods. Ulrich promises to do the same for the area, according to his campaign, at the state level if he is elected. Ulrich’s campaign also touts that he would work to restore “fiscal sanity” to state government and ease burdens on tax payers. Ulrich says he will work to reduce property taxes on homeowners, and some of the taxes on small businesses.

 

Name: Joseph Tiraco

Party: Independent

Current Position: Web Designer

Personal Info: Joseph Tiraco’s lineage in Forest Hills goes back 100 years. He served as a NATO advisor with the U.S. Army from 1961 to 1964 — stationed in France and Germany with the Army Airborne. Following an accident, he received training in computers. Tiraco says he worked in computers for more than 40 years now, witnessing new innovations and the rise of Microsoft. Born in Brooklyn before his family relocated to Forest Hills, he has inherited his family home, which he has lived in for 52 years.

Issues/Platorm: Tiraco touts that he has one main issue: direct Democracy. He elaborates by saying that politicians should be the go-between for government and citizens. On campaign material, Tiraco also supports the “Occupy” movement, saying that it is “exactly right, CHANGE is the physic, the cure-all, the overriding issue that tops all others.”

 

Meet more candidates:

Senate District 10

Senate District 16

Assembly District 25

Assembly District 33

Assembly District 38

Assembly District 40

 

Primary guide: Meet the candidates in Senate District 10


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

ELECTION

As the clock ticks closer to state primaries on Thursday, September 13, The Courier would like to provide you, the reader and the voter, with a fair, detailed guide of who is running in your district. We have provided a list of candidates, who they are, what they stand for and what they want to continue to do if they go on to the general election in November.

 

SENATE DISTRICT 10 

 

Name: Shirley Huntley

Party: Democrat

Current Position: State Senator for the 10th District

Personal Info: Prior to becoming senator, Huntley was elected to Community School Board 28 in 1993. In 1996, she was re-elected for a second term, and then was elected as president of the board, until its dissolution in 2004. In June 2004, Huntley was appointed by Borough President Helen Marshall to the Community Education Council for District 28 and elected president. Huntley presently resides in Jamaica, New York with her husband Herbert Huntley.

 

Name: Gian A. Jones

Party: Democrat

Current Position: Real estate professional

Personal Info: Jones, 34, is a Queens-native and a life-long resident of Far Rockaway, graduating from New York University. He first got involved in the politics of his community 20 years ago, at the age of 13, working closely with now Congressmember Gregory W. Meeks in his first bid for City Council in 1991 and in his subsequent, successful bid for New York State Assembly in 1992. Jones has held positions as president of the 101st Precinct Community Council, a member of the Queens County District Attorney’s Advisory Council and Community Board 14.  Currently, he is a member of the Council of Urban Professionals, the Thurgood Marshal Democratic Club and serves on the Board of Directors of the Rockaway Development and Revitalization Corporation.

Issues/Platform: Jones is concerned about all the issues that are important in the various communities in the district.  If elected, Jones will take pleasure in addressing those issues and will especially fight for any effort that creates a brighter future for our youth, meaningful economic development, better health care and improved education. Jones looks forward to bringing new vision and new energy to 10th Senatorial District.

 

Name: James Sanders

Party: Democrat

Current Position: Councilmember for the 31st District

Personal Info: Sanders attended Far Rockaway High School and earned his bachelor’s degree from Brooklyn College in 1984 after three years of service in the United States Marine Corps. When Sanders took office in 2001, he hit the ground running.  Over the past decade, he has recorded an impressive list of accomplishments that have improved the lives of people throughout the southeast Queens community. He’s authored the toughest anti-predatory lending bill in America, worked with community groups and the NYPD to host gun buyback programs that removed almost 1,000 guns from our streets, authored bills that have made it more difficult for minors to get access to bullets, conducted workshops for those in foreclosure, and worked with community groups to provide financial consultants to those in need.  Together with the civic groups and committed leaders of his community, he’s worked to rebuild public parks, open up access to clean spaces, build playgrounds and introduce new technologies into our schools and keep our streets safe.

Issues/Platform: The major issues confronting the councilmember include economic development, jobs and quality of life issues. Sanders has spent years encouraging major developers to come to his area and increase the quality of the education our youth receive. We need to combine the funding and expertise of major companies with the vision and ambition found in the hearts and minds of young entrepreneurs, he said. Education is the key to building up communities. He believes the next generation cannot build up communities if we do not supply them with the tools to do so. Sanders aims to not only say that the children are our future, but to truly treat them as such and provide for their future.

 

Meet more candidates:

Senate District 15

Senate District 16

Assembly District 25

Assembly District 33

 Assembly District 38

 

40th District assembly hopefuls square off in first debate


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Six out of seven Assembly hopefuls running in the 40th District race mulled over their top legislative priorities, plans to stir job creation and stances on affordable housing before each were stumped by questions on immigration policy.

The would-be state assembly freshmen — Democrats Ethel Chen, Yen Chou, Myungsuk Lee, Ron Kim and Republicans Phil Gim and Sunny Hahn — deliberated on hot-button state issues for the first time together during an August 16 candidates forum in the Flushing library branch.

Democrat Martha Flores-Vasquez was a no show.

The candidates relatively shared the same answers — each agreeing their top concerns include protecting seniors and education and making sure small businesses thrive. They were also united in their matching confusion on the federal immigration reform and enforcement program called Secure Communities, and were similarly vague when explaining how they would balance the state budget.

Secure Communities prioritizes the removal of criminal aliens and repeat immigration violators — and “causes discontent” largely within immigration communities, as was described in the prompt by a forum panelist. But while each candidate said it was important to protect immigrants, they said in contrast they would support the Secure Communities program.

After an audience member’s question called them out on their opposing statements, each finally admitted they did not know of the program and said they would have to study it more before answering.

Some of the candidates’ hazy answers on how they would balance the state budget during a brutal session beginning in January also seemed to frustrate audience members and panelists who had to continuously ask speakers to be more specific.

Lee and Hahn stood by generically repeating they “believe in balancing the budget,” without issuing many specifics. But Gim said he would do so by not raising taxes for small businesses and the middle class and cutting wasteful spending in the state by first finding where money is being misused.

Kim said he would fight for tax breaks for small businesses and working families.

Job creation plans ranged from Kim’s idea to work with state leaders to secure funding and make sure the government does not neglect the downstate area, to Chen’s proposal to focus on development in Willets Point, which she called “that triangle place.” Gim said his priority would be instead to help people keep their jobs in the first place and give small businesses incentives to encourage new hires.

The future of Willets Point came back into conversation when candidates discussed Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s plans to increase affordable housing by 2014. Kim said he would push for more affordable housing in the redevelopment site than the 30 to 40 percent slated to be built in there. Lee also agreed the Iron Triangle would be a good location to plant more affordable housing.

Gim said the Flushing Waterfront, once redeveloped, would be ideal for affordable housing if the state could first stop lobbyists from getting zoning to build high-end luxury condos instead.

The six candidates were also prompted to debate what they would do differently than current Assemblymember Grace Meng, who is making a run for Congress in the 6th District.

Chen said she would “have a full attendance record.”

The Assembly hopefuls will battle it out in both a Democratic and Republican primary on September 13.

 

Flushing leaders want 149th St. Bridge barriers removed


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Melissa Chan

A coalition of Flushing business owners joined two local leaders to say the city’s gridlock in not removing barriers on a busy commercial corridor has wreaked havoc on their revenue and has mobbed surrounding streets with more traffic congestion.

“It’s a clear lack of accountability and transparency by city government,” said Assembly hopeful Ron Kim. “The city of New York and Mayor Bloomberg always say that we are a friend to small businesses. This is a clear sign that they’re not.”

Kim and State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky called out the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) for not telling the public the exact completion date for the agency’s bridge capital improvement project on 149th Street in Flushing.

The project, which Kim said began in March 2010, was slated to be completed in January 2011. Later that year in June, Kim said the city agency opened up the pedestrian sidewalk but failed to remove the concrete walls and orange barrel barriers that close off the main street from through traffic.

According to a spokesperson for the DOT, “the bridge will not be opened to vehicular traffic until work is complete and is currently open to pedestrian traffic at the community’s request.”

But Kim said the project’s completion was obvious.

“All they have to do is bring a truck and lift everything up and clear the road. That’s it,” said Kim, who is running for election in the Assembly 40th race to replace current Assemblymember Grace Meng. “They kept stalling. Enough is enough. Let’s get this road open, so small businesses can survive.”

A city sign posted above the barriers near Roosevelt Avenue and Barclay Avenue was put up to inform the public of the project’s completion, Kim said, but that date had been scratched out. Kim said he also heard rumors of possible contract work not being properly negotiated.

The bridge, which has been closed for more than a year, serves a large Korean residential and business community, Kim said. The barriers, he said, deprive more than 20 local businesses of “much-needed visibility” when customers decide to shop elsewhere rather than venture into the neighborhood inflamed with traffic.

Kim claimed the agency said it received no complaints from small businesses.

Meanwhile, Kim and Stavisky said they collected 16 petitions in 30 minutes from local business owners who say their revenue has gone down by up to 20 percent.

Yang Yong Yi, an employee at local Korean restaurant Hahm Ji Bach, said she has visually noticed a drop in customers, as well as several car accidents caused by the swelling of traffic.

“It’s been closed for so long. We have to open it,” said Yi, 53. “There are too many problems with everyone going around [the closed off street].”

Assembly race divided along ethnic lines


| mchan@queenscourier.com

KimLee

A Democratic Assembly hopeful in a primary race already dividing ethnic lines fears a split Korean community could give the Chinese candidate a golden ticket to the general election.

Myungsuk Lee, who is vying for the potentially open and brewing 40th Assembly District race, expects to face an uphill battle with fellow Korean candidate — and county pick — Ron Kim.

“The Korean community is a little divided between Ron Kim and me,” said Lee, 49, of Flushing. “Their votes are really divided. I don’t think it’s easy to unify them because I will keep running. I won’t give up, and the other candidate won’t give up.”

Kim, a 33-year-old South Korean-born community activist, has the backing of the Queens County Democratic Organization and City Comptroller John Liu. The Flushing resident was 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, serving also as vice president of the Korean American Association of Greater New York.

Lee, owner and publisher of the tabloid newspaper Korean American Times, is the president of the Federation of Korean American Associations in Greater New York and former president of the Korean American Chamber of Commerce of New York and the Korean American Association of Queens.

While each candidate eyeing the seat will still have to garner enough petitions to make it on to the ballot, Lee and Kim expect to face off with Chinese contender Ethel Chen.

“If there are two Koreans and one Chinese [candidate], it’s not easy for us to win,” Lee said, citing the results of the highly competitive 20th District City Council race in 2009, when Korean hopefuls John Choe and S.J. Jung were beat out in the Democratic primary by Chinese contender Yen Chou. “We are afraid that’s going to happen again.”

Chou — who is also reportedly seeking another run for election this year in the 40th District — was ultimately defeated in that general election by then-Republican rival Peter Koo.

Former Democratic district leader Martha Flores-Vazquez has also reportedly joined the buzzing primary this year. But each hopeful could possibly go up against Assemblymember Grace Meng, who currently holds the seat and is making a run for Congress in the 6th District. Meng’s spokesperson did not directly address whether she would step down or seek re-election if her campaign falls short of Capitol Hill.

On the Republican ticket, Chinese candidate Phil Gim — who got the nod from the Queens County GOP — will take on Korean-native Sunny Hahn.

Candidates have until July 12 to gather enough signatures to qualify for the September 13 primaries.

Candidates eye Meng’s Assembly seat


| mchan@queenscourier.com

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.