Irene Chu is new president of Stars & Stripes Club

Election a symbol of growing influence of Asian-Americans

June 27, 2016 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Councilmember Vincent Gentile congratulates Irene Chu on her election. Photo courtesy of the Stars & Stripes Regular Democratic Club
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In a move signaling the increasing political clout of Asian-Americans in southwest Brooklyn, the Stars & Stripes Regular Democratic Club has selected Irene Chu, a Chinese-American, to serve as its new president.

The announcement was made at the club’s recent dinner dance.

The Stars & Stripes Club, headquartered at 7321 15th Ave., is the regular Democratic club of the 49th Assembly District (Bensonhurst-Dyker Heights-Sunset Park).

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Chu will head up the new slate of club officers, which includes longtime members Nicholas Zimmitti as vice president and Kelly Steier as executive secretary-treasurer.

Chu, who has lived in Bensonhurst for many years, is active in the Chinese-American community in both Bensonhurst and Sunset Park through her work in New York’s Chinese language media. She is also a Community Board 11 member. Councilmember Vincent Gentile recommended that Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams appoint her to the community board.

As a member of the Stars & Stripes Club, Chu has led numerous voter registration rallies and Get-Out-The-Vote drives.

Assemblymember Peter Abbate, a Democrat who represents the 49th Assembly District (AD), said he is pleased that Chu has agreed to take on her new role. “Her work ethic and community ties make her the perfect choice to represent the Stars & Stripes Club. As the 49th Assembly District changes, our club must continue to represent the community and celebrate its diversity,” Abbate said.

In recent years, the Bensonhurst and Sunset Park sections of the 49th AD have seen a sharp increase in the number of Asians and Asian-Americans moving in.

As of 2015, Bensonhurst had the largest number of Chinese-born residents of any neighborhood in the city, according to a New York Times article, which cited a 2013 city report on immigration patterns.

Now that they are getting comfortably settled, Asian-Americans appear eager to join the political process and expand their clout.

Gentile (D-Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst) predicted that Chu will do a great job leading the club.

“It is exciting to hear the news that Irene Chiu will be the next president of the Stars and Stripes Democratic Club. She is a rising star in our community and a former local journalist, and most recently, my choice to serve on Community Board 11. I wish her the very best and I am excited to work with her on behalf of the community,” Gentile said.

Joseph Bova, the longtime Democratic district leader of the 49th AD, predicted that Chu “will uphold the tradition of being a strong advocate for the neighborhoods of Sunset Park, Dyker Heights and Bensonhurst” and that she will also uphold “the democratic values our club represents.”

Victoria Kelly, who is running to become Bova’s co-leader in the 49th AD, said Chu is a great choice to lead the club. “I am excited to work with her!” she said.


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