Friday, September 18, 2009

NY's Asian American poltiical landscape comes of age: Congrats to Kevin Kim, Yen Chou, Margaret Chin (and soon enough, John Liu)

Electoral politics in New York is often a frustrating experience -- especially if you happen to be an Asian American voter who wants to see more (and better) Asian American candidates elected. More often than not, we've seen our candidates fight it out amongst themselves in majority APA districts, dividing the vote and guaranteeing our community an absurd lack of proportionate representation in electoral politics. 

That's why this past week was such a huge historic milestone: Not only did three (count 'em -- THREE -- and I myself miscounted when I first looked at the results, forgetting to congratulate Kevin Kim on his resounding victory in Bayside, Queens) Democratic Asian Americans win primaries in solidly Democratic districts, with veteran candidate Margaret Chin pulling out a win in Chinatown over incumbent Alan Gerson and Yen Chou winning the other Asian American-majority district, Flushing's District 20...but former Flushing Councilman John Liu pulled nearly double the vote of his closest competitor, fellow councilmember David Yassky, and is headed for a runoff that will almost certainly make him the first Asian American elected to citywide higher office. And let's not forget that the current Democratic contender for mayor, Bill Thompson, is making his bid from the platform of the comptroller's seat himself...so expect more and bigger things from Liu in the future. 

But the most important thing about this year's primaries is that they were evidence of the power of the APA community to make fundamental change -- when we come out and vote. And in what some have called the lowest primary turnout in modern New York City history...we did. And our candidates won. Keep that in mind as we look to build on these electoral gains!

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