U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez and City Council member Margaret Chin visited the Project Open Door Senior Center in Chinatown on Friday. Velazquez faces a challenge from three opponents, including Brooklyn City Council member Erik Dilan and newcomer Dan O’Connor, in the (newly redrawn) 7th Congressional District Democratic Primary June 26.
Chin introduced Velazquez and served as translator during brief remarks in the center, located across the street from Columbus Park. The Congresswoman praised Chin, calling “her one of the finest members of the City Council,” someone who is “using her intellect to empower Chinese Americans.”
Velazquez vowed to push for passage of comprehensive immigration reform, to stop proposed cuts to social programs and to finally approve a sweeping transportation bill. Referring to a young Lower East Side resident, an Army enlistee, who was found dead in Afghanistan after weeks of racially-tinged hazing, Velazquez declared, “we will not rest until we bring justice to the family of Private Danny Chen.”
“I don’t speak Mandarin or Cantonese but I am fighting for you,” Velazquez said. With that, she made the rounds, shaking pretty much every hand in the senior center and posing for pictures.
Chin noted that she was among a group of activists in Chinatown who gave Velazquez a Chinese name back in 1992, when Velazquez was first elected to Congress. Some media reports have highlighted O’Connor’s push for support in Chinatown. Recently he touted an endorsement from the American Fujianese Association.
The 7th Congressional District includes sections of the Lower East Side and Chinatown, as well as a large swathe of Brooklyn.