After seven Democrats faced off in a primary election in September, education candidate Yen Chou pulled off a surprising victory to many in the mainstream. But Republican business leader Peter Koo has been working on getting votes since before the summer. Now that we are in the home stretch of the campaigns our meetings with the two candidates lead us to an endorsement decision.
This City Council race has brought out political star power on both sides, with mayoral candidate Bill Thompson siding with Chou, and Mayor Mike Bloomberg siding with Koo. Additionally, Rudy Giuliani is promoting Koo, while John Liu issued a late endorsement for Chou.
What is interesting to us about this race is that party organization politics seems to have taken a back seat as a good number of Democrats have crossed party lines to support Koo, including Terence Park, Pauline Chu, Martha Flores-Vazquez, Isaac Sasson, and Ethel Chen. The word is that Jimmy Meng is also supporting Koo – and the list may be growing.
Not to be out done, Yen Chou has pulled Democratic elected officials to support her including Marge Markey, Elizabeth Crowley, and Helen Marshall, to name a few.
However, when the bright lights of endorsements are said and done, the voters of this district have to make a decision on who can best represent their interest in the City Council.
We here at the Queens Examiner believe that candidate is Peter Koo.
We are impressed with his philanthropy and his common sense approach to government. He has served on the community board and co-founded the Flushing BID. Peter is a small businessman that started out in this country with some pocket change and a suitcase with all his belongings packed inside.
He put himself through school working minimum wage jobs at KFC and Dunkin Donuts. He went to Pharmacy school, worked in Booth Memorial Hospital, and then opened up his own store in Flushing, which grew into a small chain.
Additionally, we firmly believe that the City Council should be diversified and have varying point of views. We feel that Peter Koo, unlike his opponent, will question the entrenched leadership, provide a fresh outlook, and not be beholden to special interests.
Yen Chou has a number of positive attributes. She has an energy that is apparent and speaks lavishly about her passion in the field of education. She has taught at The Mary Louis Academy and Queensborough Community College. She runs a non-profit and also operates a small tutoring business.
We are impressed with her accomplishments, but we are distressed about her failure to attend over 60 percent of the meetings of the Community Education Council to which she was appointed.
She accepted the position, but did not show to meetings. To be fair, when present, according to our sources, she did indeed add a perspective other members say was valuable.
We are also concerned that as someone who is seeking public office she has not participated in the democratic process by voting in elections. Yen Chou registered to vote in the year 2000 and then did not vote in an election again until this September.
What’s odd is that throughout that time she worked in the office of Councilman David Weprin. We expect more from our public officials and those who are seeking to become our elected leaders.
So on November 3 we support Peter Koo, and so should you.