NYC Council better reflects city’s Asian population after 5 first-time Asian American candidates win seats

NYC Council better reflects city’s Asian population after 5 first-time Asian American candidates win seats

Five new Asian American candidates won seats on the 51-member NYC Council on Tuesday and will represent areas in Queens and Brooklyn. 

November 5, 2021
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Five new Asian American candidates won seats on the 51-member New York City Council on Tuesday  — evidence of a new wave of AAPI activists getting involved in local politics. 
Shahana Hanif: Hanif, 30, will be one of the first two South Asian American council members on the New York City Council.
  • A daughter of Bangladeshi Muslim immigrants, Hanif will represent ​​Brooklyn on the District 39 seat, which covers Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Columbia Waterfront, Gowanus, Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Borough Park and Kensington.
  • She will be the first Muslim woman elected to the City Council, the only Asian representative outside of Queens and the first woman of color to represent her district.
  • Hanif won her race with almost 90% of the vote, with 28,292 votes in total.
Julie Won: Won became one of the first Korean Americans elected to the City Council on Tuesday.
  • The 31-year-old Democrat will represent District 26 on the City Council, which covers the areas of Long Island City, Sunnyside, Astoria, Woodside and Dutch Kills.
  • She won by almost 55 points against Republican candidate Marvin Jeffcoat in the general election, totaling 14,123 votes.
  • Won, an immigrant, is a tech agent and Community Board 2 member in Queens.
  • She was endorsed by New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Linda Lee: Lee will also be one of the first Korean Americans elected to the City Council and will represent District 23 of the East Queens area, which covers Bayside Hills, Bellerose, Douglaston, Floral Park, Fresh Meadows, Glen Oaks, Hollis, Hollis Hills, Holliswood, Little Neck, New Hyde Park, Oakland Gardens and Queens Village.
  • The Democrat won over Republican candidate James Reilly by almost 30 points, totaling 12,353 votes.
  • “I believe who we are as a community is defined by how we take care of those who paved the way for us and how we invest in improving the quality of life for future generations,” Lee wrote on her website.
  • She has been involved in local politics before as a member of Community Board 11 and as a Commissioner of the New York City Civic Engagement Commission.
  • She said she has devoted over 20 years of equity and policy gaps through nonprofit work and community leadership.

Shekar Krishnan: The Democrat will also be one of the first two South Asian council members in New York history.
  • Krishnan won by at least 40 points over the other racially diverse candidates running for the District 25 seat, which covers Elmhurst and Jackson Heights.
  • He ran on the platform of fighting for affordability, racial justice and public health.
  • He is a community activist and civil rights lawyer.
Sandra Ung: The 47-year-old lawyer will also represent Queens in the District 20 seat on the City Council, which covers downtown Flushing, Murray Hill and Queensboro Hill.
  • She won by nearly 20 points over her Republican opponent Yu-Ching Pai, totaling almost 7,000 votes.
  • Ung, who grew up in Flushing since she was 10, is the daughter of Cambodian refugees.
  • She is a community advocate with a history of supporting survivors of domestic abuse.

The new council members, all of whom are Democrats, will work to represent the approximately 8.3 million people — of which 14% are of Asian descent — who live in New York City. Before the recent election, only two Asian Americans served on the City Council.
Featured Image via @juliewon2021 (left), @voteshekar (center), @shahanafrombk (right)
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      Jiselle Lee

      Jiselle Lee is a contributor at NextShark

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