Today’s news:

Koo joins race for Council

The race to replace City Councilman John Liu (D−Flushing) just got a little more crowded.

Flushing businessman Peter Koo formally tossed his hat into the ring to become the councilman for District 20.

Flanked by Queens Republican Party Chairman Phil Ragusa and District Leader Mei Lin Tan, Koo made his announcement at Mulan Catering Hall in Flushing Monday evening. Koo, who ran a failed bid to unseat state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D−Whitestone) last year, said his strong community connections and business experience make him the ideal candidate.

“During these fiscally challenging times, we need to create jobs and lower taxes so people have the resources to live the American Dream of owning a home and providing a better life for their children and families,” Koo said. “It takes a strong leader to get things done in New York City and that’s why I am running for City Council.”

Koo is the first Republican to enter the race for Liu’s seat, but he is by no means facing a dearth of competition. Five Democrats have already registered campaigns with the city Campaign Finance Board: community activist S.J. Jung, education advocate Yen Chou, Democratic District Leader James Wu, Holly Civic Association President Isaac Sasson and 27−year−old Constantine Kavadas.

Koo is also the third Korean to consider a run for Liu’s seat. Jung, a fellow Korean immigrant, launched his campaign earlier this month and Gov. David Paterson’s Queens liaison, Ron Kim, told TimesLedger Newspapers this week that he is also weighing a run.

The trio of candidates marks a strong and somewhat unprecedented wave of political activism for Flushing’s Korean community. If elected, Koo, Jung or Kim would be the first Korean American elected to the Council.

District 20 encompasses the communities of Flushing, Queensboro Hill, Mitchell Gardens, Kissena Park, Harding Heights and Auburndale and a portion of Whitestone.

Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e−mail at sstirling@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 138.

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