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In a landslide election, Queens City Councilmember John Liu (D-Flushing) was elected as city comptroller and the first Asian-American to win a citywide election.
According to Board of election uncertified results Liu garnered nearly 76 percent of the electorate or 652,511 votes to Republican Joseph A Mendola’s 19 percent or 176,847 votes.
“The significance of our victory tonight is not lost on me. Indeed, this is an historic night for New York City and a milestone for Asian Americans across the nation. I’m truly humbled,” said Liu in his victory speech.
Liu’s historic also appeared to galvanize the growing Asian-American community in Southern Brooklyn stretching from Avenue U in Homecrest across Bensonhurst, Bay Ridge to Eighth Avenue in Sunset Park.
“Seeing an Asian-American elected citywide is a moment of inspiration not only for Asian-Americans but for every New Yorker. For Liu to come from humble roots to where he is today says a lot not only about him, but also about the promise of the city,” said Carl Hum, who grew up along Eighth Avenue and currently is president of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.
“As someone who has grown up in New York and in Brooklyn, John’s election shows the potency of the Asian-American vote and the coming of age of that vote. I think it will be a turning point that will give the next generation the hope that they can achieve in public politics and public service,” he added.
Richard Kuo, executive director of the non-profit Homecrest Community services, Inc., said Liu visited a neighborhood senior health fair in September that drew about 1,000 mainly Asian-American seniors, and likened his election to that of President Obama in the Asian-American community.
“His election has certainly created a sense that anybody can be elected if they’re qualified,” he said. “The main thing is it encouraged Asian-Americans to come out and participate in the process. It will also strengthen our community in future years.”
Liu’s election came after a toughly contested four-person Democratic primary, and then a runoff with two-term Brooklyn Councilmember David Yassky (D-Brooklyn Heights, Williamsburg).
In the run off Liu received 55.68 percent of the vote (127,173 votes) to Yassky’s 44.32 percent, (101,215).
The city comptroller’s main functions include going over city contracts, looking for budget waste and handling city pension money.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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