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Choe campaigns for Liu seat

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John Choe certainly knows how to make an entrance.

The longtime chief−of−staff for City Councilman John Liu (D−Flushing) jumped into the race for his boss’s post Monday morning and secured the backing of the Queens Democratic Party just 24 hours later.

Choe had been weighing the decision to enter the race for several weeks, but formally launched his campaign Monday morning at the Macedonia AME Church in Flushing alongside a slew of community leaders. But Choe got an extra boost Tuesday when the Queens Democratic Party threw its support behind him. He is also expected to get the backing of Liu.

Choe joined a race that already has nine registered candidates, but he said his legislative experience and the strong relationships he has built with community leaders over the last decade are factors that will set him apart in the eyes of the council district’s residents.

“They’re looking to support someone who has the experience and the knowledge to help advocate on their behalf and they’re looking for someone with vision,” he said. “I think none of the other candidates have that package of experience, community roots and vision that I bring to the table.”

The added ammunition of having the Queens Democratic Party behind him does not hurt, though, Choe conceded.

“It’s going to be a great boost to my campaign. I’m honored,” he said.

Choe, whose family immigrated from South Korea to the city via Australia when he was a child,has had an extensive career in public service. In addition to working for Liu since 2001, Choe is also the co−president of the Mitchell−Linden Civic Association and has worked for the Corp. for Supportive Housing, the city Finance Department, the Coro New York Leadership Center and the city Rent Guidelines Board.

Choe is running for the seat in District 20, which encompasses the communities of Flushing, Queensboro Hill, Mitchell Gardens, Kissena Park, Harding Heights and Auburndale and a portion of Whitestone.

Choe said he will place an emphasis on addressing public safety and quality−of−life issues during his campaign, adding that the development boom in the region would be best served by someone like him who has firsthand experience dealing with the issues in the community.

“We have so many development projects in the works, multimilli­on−dollar projects that will require a steady hand, which will require detailed knowledge,” he said. “Having a novice in John Liu’s seat would be a disservice to our community.”

Liu, who has served as councilman for the 20th CD for the last eight years, announced earlier this year that he is running for city comptroller — opening up the floodgates to the politically active Flushing community.

Seven Democrats have now registered their campaigns for Liu’s seat with the city Campaign Finance Board: former legislative aide to Gov. David Paterson Ron Kim, community activist S.J. Jung, education advocate Yen Chou, Democratic District Leader James Wu, Holly Civic Association President Isaac Sasson, 27−year−old Constantine Kavadas and Democratic District Leader Martha Flores−Vasquez.

Flushing businessman Peter Koo is also campaigning for the seat as the only registered Republican candidate thus far, while 47−year−old Evergreen Chou has joined the race as a candidate for the Green Party.

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

Posted 6:35 pm, October 10, 2011
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