City Council Member Margaret Chin Announces Re-Election Campaign
Surrounded by fellow elected officials and community activists, City Council member Margaret Chin formally announced her campaign for a second term Sunday at Independence Plaza, an apartment complex in Tribeca that has been a focal point in the fight for affordable housing. She was endorsed by U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez and State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who called her a tireless advocate for the residents of District 1, which includes the Lower East Side and most of Lower Manhattan below East Houston Street.
Acknowledging that it took her three tries before finally prevailing in 2009 to become the first Chinese woman on the City Council, Chin declared, “Now that I’m here I’m not going anywhere!” During brief remarks, she rattled off first-term accomplishments, including winning permanent affordable housing at the Seward Park development site, securing space for two new district schools, keeping firehouses and senior centers open amid budget cuts, saving after school programs and “making our streets safer.”
As supporters applauded and cheered, Chin continued to highlight the tasks completed on behalf of downtown residents. “I’ve been standing up against the over-saturation of nightlife, I’ve helped residents of 10 Stanton St. (who recently won a renewal of an affordable rent contract) and have been “steadfast in calling for more regulation” of the interstate bus business following a deadly crash in the Bronx that left 15 Chinatown residents dead. Finally, Chin added, she helped lead the fight against racism in the military after the death in Afghanistan of Private Danny, a Lower East Side resident who committed suicide after being tormented. Danny Chen’s parents were among those in attendance supporting the Council member Sunday.
Speaker Silver called Chin a staunch “advocate for affordable housing and working families,” and declared, “you have been there for us and now we are here for you.” He also spoke of Chin’s work “on the front lines” during “our darkest hours,” following Hurricane Sandy, “It is with tremendous enthusiasm,” Silver said, “that I offer my strongest possible endorsement.” Congresswoman Velazquez, noting Chin’s short stature and sunny disposition, told those gathered, “Don’t be confused; she might be petite but she is a tough cookie!” Velazquez called Chin a “tough negotiator” when it comes to “land use issues,” winning important concessions for the communities she serves. Although she was not in attendance, a press release distributed on site included an endorsement from City Council member Rosie Mendez.
Others standing up for Chin include: Community Board 3 Chairperson Gigi Li, Aixa Torres of the Smith Houses tenant association, Nancy Ortiz of the Vladeck Houses tenant association, district leaders Jean Grillo, Jenny Lo, Herbert Kee and Jon Scott, Emilio Velazquez of Knickerbocker Village, Ricky Leung of the Cherry Street tenant’s association and Gouverneur Hospital head Mendel Hagler.
Chin faces a challenge from Jenifer Rajkumar, a West Side district leader, in the September Democratic Primary. During her announcement, Chin said she is proud to have made history as the first person of Chinese descent to serve Manhattan’s Chinatown on the Council. On January 9, sitting in City Council chambers, Chin celebrated 50 years in this country. “This is what the American dream is about,” she said.
Although she has accomplished many things, Chin said, “there’s still work to do. In her second term, she vowed to fight for more schools and to make sure tenants’ voices are heard as the New York Housing Authority moves to build luxury housing. Finally, Chin promised, “we are going to put shovels in the ground for affordable housing on the Seward Park site!”