Nancy Tong Joins South Brooklyn Council Race

Nancy Tong (Photo by Kimberly Conner for Voices of NY)

The district leader of the 47th Assembly District, Nancy Tong, is the latest to join an already crowded field of candidates vying to succeed term-limited City Council member Vincent Gentile of the 43rd District (Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst, Dyker Heights, Fort Hamilton).

Back in 2014, Tong became the first Asian American to be elected to public office in Brooklyn where the Asian population – the Chinese in particular – has been steadily increasing. She remains the borough’s only elected official of Asian descent.

In reporting on the new candidate, Kings County Politics mentions that Tong works for her mentor, Assemblymember Bill Colton, as his community relations director, and she is also the co-president of the United Progressive Democratic Club.

Tong entering the race could be a serious challenge to early Democratic frontrunner Justin Brannan, whose Bay Ridge Democratic Club is in the heart of the district, and who has already raised a hefty $57,000.

Tong should be able to match or even raise more money than Brannan through a network of Asian-American supporters and others. She will also bring the muscle of the Colton machine that includes [City Council member Mark] Treyger, male Democratic District Leader Charlie Ragusa, Coney Island/Bay Ridge Assemblywoman Pamela Harris and the UPD club.

Brooklyn Daily Eagle’s Paula Katinas adds that “Tong was born in Hong Kong and grew up in New York City. She is fluent in English, Mandarin and Cantonese.”

Tong, who has lived in Bensonhurst for 12 years, got her start in public life by volunteering in her son Albert’s school. She later became a volunteer in Colton’s district office on Kings Highway. Impressed by her dedication and work ethic, Colton hired her for a part-time position as a constituent liaison in his office.

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