Veterans of Bernie, Obama campaigns join Stavisky challenger’s staff

By Madina Toure

S.J. Jung, a community activist challenging state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing) for her seat, introduced his campaign staff to the media Tuesday, which includes veterans of the presidential campaigns of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and U.S. President Barack Obama.

In March, Jung, former president of the MinKwon Center for Community Action, announced he would be running for the second time against Stavisky, whom he first challenged in 2014. Stavisky won about 60 percent of the vote to around 40 percent for Jung.

The 16th Senatorial District includes parts of Flushing, Bayside, Whitestone, Elmhurst, Woodside, Rego Park and Forest Hills.

Jung held a news conference at his campaign office at 32-26 Union St. in downtown Flushing to present his election team.

“Our campaign staff actually consists of a combination of the Queens veterans who have deep roots and live networks in the district and also campaign experts who knows how to organize ground games, who really knows how to organize a winning election,” Jung said.

Kyle Sullivan, a veteran of presidential campaigns in many states, who was most recently the regional field director for Bernie Sanders for President 2016 in Las Vegas, is the campaign manager. Bern Barber, a New York veteran of numerous winning Sanders ground operations, is the field director.

Sullivan said Jung has a long-term vision, has run a private business and has also worked in the private sector, making him the right individual to find solutions “that could bring Queens into the future.”

“In the year of the outsider, what we really need to do is listen to the concerns of the people, go door-by-door, talking to voters about what they really care about and trying to figure out how we can find common ground,” he said.

Roeme Kim, a former Community Board 7 member and former executive director of the YWCA of Queens, a position she held for 21 years, and David Wong, who has been participating in community service and advocacy for Chinese Americans, Asian Americans and low-income and middle-income families in Queens, are also staff members.

The New York firm political consultants BrownMillerGroup, whose partner Chris Miller was an early member of Obama’s team and helped craft his grassroots strategy, is a general consultant.

Jung, who has billed his campaign as “A New Day in Queens, A New Day for Albany” said he has received a “tremendous response” from voters and neighbors in the district.

He said he wants to create good jobs, address income inequality, boost the local economy, pass meaningful ethics and campaign finance reforms to ensure Albany is held accountable and strengthen small businesses.

Jung also said he plans to maximize the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption program’s income cap, build more affordable senior housing and expand the Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage program.

“While out in the neighborhood knocking doors, talking to the voters, I have found that voters are yearning for real change,” Jung said. “Countless voters are yearning for a new day when it comes to politics in our state and in our community.”

Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtoure@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.

More from Around New York