By Cynthia Koons
Jimmy Meng now represents the 22nd Assembly District, a seat he won after a hard-fought primary and highly publicized election fraught with allegations of voter fraud that were later disproved. As the first Asian American in the Assembly, he will represent a district that was created after the 2000 Census showed a need for greater representation in the predominantly Asian area of downtown Flushing.”I am humbled by the honor of serving as your assemblyman,” Meng said in his speech at Flushing Town Hall Sunday. “I am deeply grateful to all those who have made our American tradition of freedom and democracy possible.”Meng, a businessman who owns a lumber company in the western border of downtown Flushing, upset incumbent state Assemblyman Barry Grodenchik in the September Democratic primary. He faced challenges from Republican candidate Meilin Tan and Green Party candidate Evergreen Chou in the general election race.During his campaign, prominent Democratic elected officials gave endorsements to Meng, some of which came late in the game and lacked enthusiasm. Councilman John Liu (D-Flushing), for example, worked closely with Grodenchik and did not endorse Meng until a week and a half before the election. There were questions about some of the voter registrations during the race, after a city Board of Elections investigation found that as many as 191 registrations illegally listed Flushing businesses instead of residences for addresses. Prior to the election, the agency determined that despite those votes, Meng still was the winner of the Democratic primary contest for the downtown Flushing seat.On Sunday, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) swore in the new assemblyman.Meng's speech mirrored Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous “I have a dream” speech.”I have a dream that everyone who works hard and lives responsibly is rewarded with economic security and the peace of mind that comes from knowing that the essential services their families need – like health care insurance – will be affordable and accessible,” he said. “I have a dream that our children will thank us for the great education we have given them and that they deserve,” he said. “With your hand in partnership, and with an abiding faith in the goodness of the people of our great Flushing, I want to devote the next two years to making the American dream come true for our parents and our children.”Reach reporter Cynthia Koons by e-mail at email@example.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 141.