First Chinese Endorsed for Leadership in Brooklyn

Nancy Tong will soon be the first Chinese elected representative in Brooklyn (Photo by Jane Zhang via Sing Tao Daily)

Nancy Tong will soon be the first Chinese elected representative in Brooklyn (Photo by Jane Zhang via Sing Tao Daily)

Bensonhurst state Assemblymember William Colton and City Council member Mark Treyger endorsed Nancy Tong on July 20 at the United Progressive Democratic Club. Tong, who is running for female district leader of the Democratic Party in the 47th District of the State Assembly, has no opponent. This means, after the primary election in September, Tong will become the first Chinese elected representative in the history of Brooklyn.

Tong works part time at Colton’s office as a community liaison. Colton said many times that political candidates make a lot of beautiful promises to voters. But they don’t stick to their words once they are elected. So when he makes the decision as to whom to endorse in an election, he won’t just listen to what the candidates say but would like to check their record and see what they have done for people and the community.

He said Tong meets his strict criteria. She speaks English, Cantonese and Mandarin. Her language ability enables her to serve the district, which has a large Chinese population, to its best. As a community liaison at his office, she helped more than 2,000 constituents who sought help from the office last year.

Treyger called Tong “a very caring person.” He said her commitment to the community, her patience and her outstanding ability to serve the community all make her the best candidate for district leader. He said the Chinese in Brooklyn have shown rapidly growing enthusiasm for participating in politics. Tong will become the first Asian elected representative in Brooklyn. But more people will surely follow.

Many community leaders attended the event, including Steve Chung, president of the United Chinese Association of Brooklyn, Warren Chan, president of the Asian Community United Society, Louie Liu, vice president of the Brooklyn Community Improvement Association, John Chan, chairman of Brooklyn Asian Communities Empowerment and its president, Jianghua Li, and community activist Tim Law.

They all said Tong’s election will be a milestone for the Chinese community in Brooklyn. It is a sign of the growing power of Chinese on the political stage. They also hope Tong’s experience can encourage more Asians to participate in politics so that the community will have a louder voice.

Tong said although she is running for the leadership of the Democratic Party, she will not only serve the party. Rather, she will keep working for the community, building a bridge between the community and elected officials. She will also focus on improving education and encouraging more Chinese to become registered voters and to vote.

Tong’s family originally came from Toy Shan, Canton province, in China. She was born in Hong Kong and grew up in New York. She had been working as a volunteer at Colton’s office since she moved to Bensonhurst 12 years ago, until five years ago when she became a part-time community liaison at the office.

Jeannette Givant, the current female district leader, who has been serving for 10 years, has decided to retire. Tong, encouraged by party members in the district, decided to run for the opening. She collected 4,000 signatures in a short period of time, much more than the 500-signature threshold to be qualified.

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