Bensonhurst resident Nancy Tong is on her way to winning a post as female Democratic district leader of the 47th Assembly District, making her the first Asian-American elected official in Brooklyn.
Tong is on the ballot for the September 9 primary, and she’s running unopposed. She will replacing District Leader Jeanette Givant, who is set to retire according to Sing Tao Daily (via Voices of NY).
The district leader post is an unpaid role in the party. All formal parties in New York are required to have one male and one female district leader to represent each Assembly district. They serve as their community’s representative to their political party’s leadership, and help their party’s candidates get elected by organizing ground support.
Home Reporter writes:
Nancy Tong was nominated for the position by Assemblymember William Colton, whose office she has volunteered with and worked in as a community liaison for eight years.
… “Nancy has been helping thousands of people in this community from all over the world. Just last year, she helped 2,000 people,” Colton exclaimed. “Sometimes I wonder whether she ever lifts up her head.”
Over the years, Tong has worked on senior citizen rent issues, helped businesses respond to tickets from the Department of Sanitation, assisted homeowners with tree root problems in dealing with city agencies, volunteered for street clean-ups, and helped educate parents about the rezoning of P.S. 97.
In addition to Colton’s backing, Tong has the support of Councilman Mark Treyger who also worked in Treyger’s office before winning his City Hall seat in November.
Sing Tao adds:
Tong’s family originally came from Toy Shan, Canton province, in China. She was born in Hong Kong and grew up in New York. She had been working as a volunteer at Colton’s office since she moved to Bensonhurst 12 years ago, until five years ago when she became a part-time community liaison at the office.
Tong will be the first Asian-American elected official in a borough that is home to more than a quarter million Asians. Much of the Asian-American population, which is concentrated in areas including Bensonhurst, Sunset Park and Homecrest, are divided between various legislative districts, making it difficult for them to elect a representative that reflects their heritage.
During the redistricting process in 2012, advocates in the community fought for the creation of an Asian-American majority district. It would have united parts of Bensonhurst, Dyker Heights and Sunset Park into one district in the state legislature. That push was unsuccessful, and no Asian-American has represented Brooklyn in city, state or federal legislatures.