City Councilman Peter Koo (R-Flushing) crossed party lines last Thursday to endorse state Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Little Neck) in his bid for the 9th Congressional District seat vacated by Anthony Weiner amid a scandal in June.
Koo, who has endorsed Democrats in the past, including Andrew Cuomo when he was running for governor, said he made his decision based on his assessment of the relative strengths of Weprin and his Republican opponent, Bob Turner.
“I may not always agree with David on the issues, and we may see things differently from time to time, but I believe he is a better choice for Congress in the 9th Congressional District,” Koo said at an event Aug. 18 at the headquarters of the Flushing Chinese Business Association. “As I have done in the past, I am crossing party lines to support a candidate I feel who will be the best for our community.”
Weprin thanked Koo for the endorsement and said he is committed to fighting for the people of Flushing.
“I am very honored to accept this endorsement for Congress,” Weprin said at the event. “I will do everything I can to protect Social Security and Medicare and to create jobs .... I will be there fighting each and every way for the people of Queens and Brooklyn.”
The Flushing Chinese Business Association also threw its support behind Weprin, saying he has been a committed advocate for the Asian-American and small business communities in Flushing.
“He’s a longtime friend in Flushing for the Asian community. We are very serious about working with him,” the nonprofit’s executive director, Peter Tu, said. “We respect him and this is an opportunity to welcome him.”
Koo took some heat from the Republican Party’s state leadership — his chief of staff, James McClelland, said Koo received a “flurry of calls” — after choosing to endorse Weprin despite an entreaty by Turner’s campaign to back his candidacy, but Koo said he wants to do what is best for the community.
“I always tell them if it’s the right to do for the community, then I will do it,” Koo said. “Of course, they are not happy, but this is my decision. I think David is a better, more experienced representative for our community.”
Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing), who has endorsed Weprin, also attended the announcement.
“Assemblyman Weprin has been a consistent advocate for our community,” she said. “Bob Turner has not worked for our community. I’ve never even met him. David Weprin has been working for years, on and off camera, to help our community.”
The Uniformed Fire Officers Association and the Uniformed Firefighters Association both threw their weight behind Weprin last week as well.
Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at csheets@cn
©2011 Community News Group
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