Flushing is part of District 20 (which includes Flushing, Queensboro Hill, Mitchell Gardens, Kissena Park, Harding Heights, Auburndale, and part of Whitestone.) Most of the prominent political figures in Flushing are fairly liberal, politically – but more jarringly, they are all Chinese. It is true that the Chinese population is more expansive than any other immigrant population, but the Chinese have also managed to kindle more political activism than the other groups. The Chinese immigrant population is a little less than double that of Koreans, but has three times as many registered voters. This is problematic in terms of a fair representative democracy, but it is clear that the Chinese population of Flushing has yielded many influential political figures.
Councilman: Peter Koo, elected in 2009.
Koo immigrated from Hong Kong in 1971, and prior to becoming involved in politics was a local businessman of Flushing. He was CEO and President of the Starside Pharmacy chain, which is located in the neighborhood. Koo also served as advisor for many organizations, including Queens General Hospital Community Advisory Board, the LaGuardia Community College Foundation, the Flushing Lions Club, Flushing Rotary Club and the American Cancer Society. In addition, he is also involved in philanthropy; his most recent contribution being $100,000 to LaGuardia Community College. He is affectionately known by Flushing residents as “Mayor of Flushing” because of his active role in the community, and ran as a member of the Republican party.
City Comptroller: John Liu, elected in November 2009
In addition to being the former councilman of District 20, John Liu was also the Chair of the City Council Transportation Committee. Now, as comptroller, he is significantly the first Asian-American to hold a major elective office in New York City. Like Koo, he is a Chinese immigrant (arriving at the age of 5, with family) and is also a representative of the Flushing community. He ran as an independent-party candidate and is rumored to have frequent political clashes with Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Jimmy and Grace Meng: Father-Daughter Flushing Duo
Jimmy Meng is the first Asian-American ever to be elected to the State Assembly in New York. His politics are liberal; he is an immigrant from China. Meng came here from Taiwan as a graduate student, and has been a successful businessman in the Flushing area, where he lives with his wife and daughters. His success is accredited to his cleverly uniting Chinese and Korean voters behind him, as well as working closely in his campaign with Korean and Spanish interpreters.
Grace Meng, his daughter, was elected to the New York State Assembly in November 2008–the youngest and only current Asian-American member of the Assembly. Perhaps as a result of her position as a minority, she is a passionate advocate of equality and has passed several pieces of legislation to improve childhood education and the quality of life of senior citizens. She is also the author and sponsor of the Reverse Mortgage Act of 2009, and lives in Flushing today with her family.