Carlos Menchaca Has a Chinese Challenger

Chris Miao campaigning in Sunset Park. (Photo via World Journal)

[Editor’s note: Brooklyn’s City Council District 38, which includes Sunset Park, now has at least six candidates challenging the incumbent council member Carlos Menchaca, making it one of the most competitive City Council elections this year. One of the candidates is Chinese in a district where, according to a survey of the Asian American Federation, 38 percent of the residents are Asian. That makes the district the third most populated by Asians after second-place tie-holders District 23 (East Queens) and District 25 (Jackson Heights/Elmhurst) and first-place holder District 20 (Flushing). And 89 percent of District 38’s Asian population is Chinese, the highest proportion of all districts.

A story in the World Journal sheds light on the Chinese candidate.]

At least six candidates have formally joined the competition for the City Council seat of District 38, which includes Sunset Park, with a large Chinese population. One of them is Chris Miao, a 32-year-old Chinese attorney. Miao, who has his own law firm in Manhattan, campaigned along Eighth Avenue of Sunset Park on June 6 and called for Chinese voters to support him. He vowed to utilize his background to help pass laws that protect the rights of the Chinese.

Born in Shanghai, Miao came to the U.S. with his parents when he was 5. His father is a senior technical engineer and his mother a homemaker. Despite his young age, Miao opened his law firm six years ago with a specialty in property transactions. He also teaches law at Baruch College and volunteers at various organizations in his free time to provide legal assistance to others.

Miao is facing a very competitive election that has attracted several candidates. Other than the incumbent council member Carlos Menchaca, State Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, who has been serving the community for more than 20 years, and former council member Sara Gonzalez, are also strong competitors.

But Miao said he is completely confident. He said there are so many Chinese residents living in District 38 and they have been contributing to the district greatly. It is time to elect a Chinese representative who can fight for their interests. Miao said although some other candidates are more experienced in politics than him, he has abundant knowledge in law, innovative ideas and is a swift decision-maker. These qualities will bring new energy to the district.

Miao said one of his priorities is to encourage more Chinese to participate in politics through his own campaigning, and to help them better understand the city’s policies and codes. Only when everyone realizes how important it is to participate in politics is equality possible, be it in education, public safety or the environment.

Menchaca campaigned along Fourth Avenue in Sunset Park on the same day. He said he is not worried about having multiple contenders. “This is a good thing,” said Menchaca. “With more candidates participating, more people will come out to vote.” Meanwhile, he said he hopes Chinese voters can recognize the efforts he put in for the development of the neighborhood and to support him as they always have.

“In the past three and a half years, I pushed for the construction of three new schools in the district,” said Menchaca. “And I launched participatory budgeting in the district so the residents have one more avenue to participate in the development of their neighborhood and have their voices heard.”

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