By Mark Hallum
S.J. Jung is challenging state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing) again as the two file petitions and raise funds for the Democratic primary Sept. 13.
Jung lost out to Stavisky in the 2014 election with about 40 percent of the vote in 2014. Stavisky has been elected seven times to the seat she has held since 1999.
Former president of the MinKwon Center for Community Action and board member of the New York Immigration Coalition, Jung announced his second run back in March and said his staff would include veterans of the Obama and Bernie Sanders campaigns. He recently announced his campaign had exceeded the number of petitions necessary for to run for Senate with 3,347 signatures filed, the minimum of which is 1,000.
“Do we want to relive the problems that have plagued our community? Congestion, crime, corruption, trash in our streets? Or do we want to vigorously tackle these issues to give our children better lives than we had,” Jung told a recent rally in downtown Flushing. “Folks, it’s a choice between Groundhog Day or a new day, and I think the choice is clear.
Stavisky announced that her campaign team was selected from a group with strong roots in Queens. Campaign manager Veronica Ng, a Whitestone-born Jackson Heights resident, has experience working as former Councilman Mark Weprin’s communications director and field director for Stavisky’s 2014 campaign.
Campaign consultant Walter Chi specializes in increasing candidate’s visibility through media relations and has served northeast Queens leaders such as U.S. Rep. Grace Mengn (D-Flushing), Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing) and state Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Flushing). He is now on Stavisky’s team,
Stavisky has filed her campaign petitions, which capped off around 3,300.
“I want to thank the dozens of volunteers from every corner of the district who helped collect signatures,” Stavisky said. “I’m proud to say I did not rely on hired staff to help me, but rather the drive and dedication of those who believe in me enough to volunteer their time. I could not have collected nearly as many signatures without their help.”
Jung’s campaign hopes to take the seat from Stavisky, whose husband represented the 16th District for years before she was elected in 1999.
His campaign manager, Kyle Sullivan, said he believes grassroots political strategies such as knocking on doors and holding street rallies, although old-fashioned, are still effective and relevant in the digital age. Sullivan was formerly with the Bernie Sanders campaign out of Nevada.
According to Sullivan, nearly 100 supporters joined Jung in his July 7 march through downtown Flushing following his address on the steps of the Queens Library.
Stavisky’s campaign recently said she has raised funds in the range of $155,811. Jung’s campaign has not announced his contribution totals yet.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall