By Mark Hallum
Elected officials are speaking out against S.J. Jung, the failed Democratic candidate for state Senate, who they believe was falsely claiming their support as well as using photos of them to promote his campaign.
The statements, which draw a clear line of allegiance, are due to the recent backlash over his pro-life stance and his promise to prevent marriage equality from being depicted in textbooks. Among those speaking out were City Councilman Daniel Dromm (Jackson Heights), U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan) and U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-Brooklyn) as well as the Working Families Party and the Service Employees International Union.
Jung lost the race to oust state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing) in the 16th District, which stretches from Glen Oaks through Flushing to Rego Park and Forest Hills.
The Working families Party is one of the largest labor unions in the state and said Jung supporters were touting WFP backing for their candidate.
“We were disturbed to hear of reports that her opponent, S.J. Jung, is calling for the removal of same-sex couples from school textbooks. We were even more disturbed to learn that Jung’s supporters have been falsely claiming that he has the support of WFP and trying to deceive voters about our endorsement in this race,” said New York State Director of the Working Families Party Ari Kamen. “To be clear: there is no place for this type of bigotry in New York state, and there should be zero confusion about whom we are supporting in this race,” he said, referring to Stavisky.
Dromm held a Sept. 6 news conference outside Jung’s headquarters in Flushing to defend LGBT rights. Speakers expressed the need to keep textbooks inclusive to prevent LGBT youths from suffering the dangerous effects of alienation, which they said often culminates in suicide. Dromm, one of the first openly gay men elected to City Council, said Jung’s stance was a betrayal in consideration of the work they had done together in the past to promote equal rights for all, and requested that Jung remove the lawmaker’s photo from his campaign site.
“He has pictures of me speaking at rallies that I organized at City Hall and I would really like to have them taken down, because I don’t feel that he should capitalize on the work that we did together now that he’s made these statements,” Dromm said.
Members of congress used the occasion to endorse Stavisky.
“Her opponent’s use of my photo to promote his candidacy is completely unauthorized and he should stop immediately,” Nadler said.
“I have not endorsed S.J. Jung, and he should stop using my photo immediately,” Velazquez said.
“Our members endorsed Senator Stavisky in this race because of her track record of support for working New Yorkers. Her respect for all people in our city makes her the best choice to represent Queens. S.J. Jung should stop using campaign literature with my photo immediately since it misrepresents the union’s position in this race,” said Hector Figueroa, president of SEIU Local 32BJ, which represents 155,000 building services workers.
Jung did not respond to a request for comment.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall