Assembly District 40 - Democratic Primary


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Candidate Questionnaire


Age: 33
Consultant, Parkside Group

Education: BA (name of degree-granting institution not provided); MPA (name of degree granting institution not provided)

A third-generation Flushing native, Ron Kim is running to represent the community he first served as a staffer to then-Council member John Liu and later in working for Assembly members and two different gubernatorial administrations. He is running now to represent the working-class, immigrant communities of Flushing in which he grew up. On reform issues, Kim strongly supports redistricting reform, and while lamenting the incremental progress in last year’s redistricting deal, he would vote for the constitutional amendment implementing an independent redistricting commission as a needed first step. He also supports campaign finance reform as a means to both increase voter engagement and create a more level playing field for candidates. He is focused on using technology to make government more performance-driven, thereby increasing the government’s efficiency and responsiveness to its constituents. He strongly backs the DREAM Act and raising the minimum wage. He also wants to bring resources back to his community, stating that economic development will happen, but that it must be shaped to benefit the community being developed. Kim sees no perceived or actual conflict of interest if lobbied by clients of the Parkside Group, his former employer. He expressed pride in representing non-profit clients which he believes lack access to government decision-makers. Citizens Union is impressed with Kim’s political and community experience, and his clear vision for how he will achieve his goals if elected, though he needs to be more sensitive to a possible perception of conflict given his ties to a lobbying group. He is supportive of reform issues and recognizes the need to serve all constituencies in this diverse district. Citizens Union prefers Ron Kim in this race.

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Age: 73
Librarian, Community Activist

Education:  University of Pittsburgh (MLS), National Taiwan University School of Law (LLB)

Retired librarian Ethel Chen has served Flushing as a proud community activist for decades. She has promoted racial harmony, helped seniors pass citizenship tests, taught immigrants English, and has helped hundreds of people attain civil service jobs. Ethel Chen feels that this experience prepares her to be an effective leader for the community. On reform issues, Chen strongly supports distributing member items more equitably to State Assembly members. She feels the entire budget process needs to be more transparent. She supports creating a simplified version of the city’s campaign finance system with public matching funds on the state level, stating that enforcement in the city is overly burdensome. She also wants to see campaign contribution limits decreased to more reasonable levels. On non-reform issues, she strongly believes that Flushing deserves more government services for the amount of taxes that residents contribute. She backs the DREAM Act which will help the immigrant community in her district, and believes that education monies to Flushing should increase. Chen’s work as an activist is inspiring, but Citizens Union feels that she lacks the broader vision and current needed experience to bring about systemic change impacting the entire state.



Age: 49
Administrator/ Assembly

Education: St. John University - MS; Math&Computer Science; Darmouth College; Tuck School of Business - EMBA Program

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Has not returned questionnaire
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Age: N/A

Education: MA Psychology (name of degree-granting institutions not provided)
Candidate could not be scheduled for an interview