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By JEFFERSON SIEGEL | On Sunday morning, Margaret Chin formally announced her campaign for a second term.
Dozens of supporters, including local activists and powerhouse political allies like Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Congressmember Nydia Velazquez, filled the steps of Independence Plaza North in Tribeca to show their support for the First District’s first Asian-American councilmember.
“Councilmember Chin has been one of our community’s staunchest advocates, making sure that as we continue to rebuild, Lower Manhattan receives its fair share,” said Silver, offering Chin his “strong endorsement.”
Velazquez also praised Chin’s commitment, saying the district needs someone to “stand up for small businesses, working families, affordable housing and access to better education and childcare.”
Chin, who seemed to know every supporter personally, took pride in recounting the accomplishments over her past four years, including gaining protected affordable housing at 505 LaGuardia Place, inclusion of permanent affordable housing at the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area, securing local space for two new schools and keeping firehouses open.
No detail seemed too small, with the crowd ecstatic at the mention of a new traffic light at Duane and Greenwich Sts., a long-fought battle that began before Chin was elected in 2009.
With her husband, Alan Tung, a public school teacher, standing nearby among the supporters, Chin recalled her arrival in the U.S. 50 years ago, and how she took care of her younger brothers while her mother worked in a Chinatown garment factory.
Also in the crowd were the parents of U.S. Army Private Danny Chen, who died in Afghanistan after a hazing incident by fellow soldiers. Chin said the groundswell of Downtowners’ anger over his death resulted in the discharge of four of the eight soldiers charged in connection with his death.
After the speeches, Chin made sure she greeted and thanked everyone in attendance. Ro Sheffe of Community Board 1 said Chin has been “one of the strongest pillars in our community.”
Bob Townley, founder and director of Manhattan Youth, said Chin helped families navigate the Department of Education system.
“Those issues are at the heart of working parents,” Townley said.
“She doesn’t just say the words, she does the work,” said Diane Lapson, president of the I.P.N. Tenants Association. “She’s never failed to support Independence Plaza North’s issues, like preserving affordable housing.”
Chin will face off against Jenifer Rajkumar in the Sept. 10 Democratic primary.