Brooklyn republican assemblyman boosts his support among Chinese constituents
Cannot bring himself to denounce Trump
SUNSET PARK — The atmosphere and aura in the room was that of unity, optimism and overwhelming support as hundreds congregated in Sunset Park’s Pacificana restaurant on Thursday evening to show their devotion via fundraiser to a man whose mantra encompasses change.
Assemblyman Lester Chang, who beat longtime Democratic incumbent Peter Abbate last year, winning the seat for the 49th assembly district — which includes Bath Beach, Bensonhurst, Borough Park and Dyker Heights — is running for reelection in 2024 and is feeling quite confident about the prospective outcome, he told the Brooklyn Reporter.
“This night is a continuation of my journey — my mission — to do the best job I can and to solve as many of the people’s problems as I can; that’s what I live for,” Chang said. “I’m retired; I don’t need to do this — but I want to do this because it’s so important to give back.”
Chang said he will continue to fight to reduce crime, fix broken bail and parole laws, support law enforcement, lift the charter school cap, stop mandated curriculum for private schools, and provide meaningful, substantive support services for the homeless, veterans, and incarcerated individuals transitioning back to society.
He also spoke to the challenges of being a Republican and running again in Brooklyn — notoriously a Democratic stronghold.
“There is no doubt that Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Sunset Park and other surrounding areas are turning Red — no question about it,” Chang explained. “I sense when I’m on the streets, people are frustrated being Blue — mainly because of Blue Liberal policies. People want a change, and change is what I’m giving and will continue to give.”
Chang also pointed out that change is what is needed in the White House as well, expressing his thoughts on the top ticket.
“It’s a tough job to be president of the United States. And with respect to Joe Biden, we need a younger, healthier and more aggressive person to run this country; this job is too important.”
When asked if he would support Donald Trump in next year’s presidential election, Chang would only say that Trump “represents strength and can carry the message for our political party.”
Richie Barsamian, chairman of the Kings County Republican Party, also in attendance at the gala, called Chang “a warrior for honesty and integrity — and he is a patriot.”
“I, as the chairman of the Republican Party, and my entire team, stand 100 percent with Assemblyman Lester Chang,” Barsamian proclaimed.
Ross Brady, Kings County Conservative Party treasurer, spoke next and referred to Chang as “a trailblazer — not only in the Asian-American community but in the entire community.”
“Lester cares,” Brady continued. “He cares about you; he cares about your kids, and it’s imperative that we have him back in Albany.”
The grand finale of the evening was a dramatic speech given by Chang himself, in which he told the capacity crowd that the election “is not about me; it is about you — because our work is not yet finished!”
“I’ve spent 24 years in the Navy and one year in Afghanistan. I fought for our country, and now I will continue to fight for you locally,” Chang said. “Because our Democrats are not supporting our interests.
“I am the first and only Chinese Republican in the whole state. Certainly, I cannot solve every problem. But if I can solve some of them, then your life will be better.”
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