As Congressmember Nydia Velázquez prepares to run for her 13th consecutive term in Congressional District 7, she now faces a newcomer from her own party, Yungman Lee.
Lee, a 63-year-old immigrant who came to the United States from Hong Kong, China, at the age of 16, will campaign to become the new leader of District 7, which includes parts of Sunset Park, Park Slope, Red Hook, Gowanus, Carroll Gardens, Williamsburg, Bushwick and several other areas of Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan.
Both candidates have extensive financial backgrounds; Velázquez has served her district as the ranking member of the House Small Business Committee and a senior member of the Financial Services Committee, while Lee is the current president and CEO of Global Bank and was appointed first deputy superintendent of the New York State Banking Department by former Governor Mario Cuomo in 1991, a position he held until December 1994.
“You acquire expertise based on the committees that you serve,” Velázquez said. “So my two committees are Financial Services — that has to deal with everything pertaining to the financial sector, banking and insurance — and the Small Business Committee.”
Velázquez feels her experience in these committees, and the work she did to help restore the economy and auto industry after the recent recession, will propel her to victory.
In addition to her work on a national level, Velázquez is involved with the important issues of her constituents on a more local level.
Velázquez has been working to get rid of unscrupulous landlords trying to illegally oust long-term residents out of their rent-regulated apartments in Bushwick and Ridgewood.
“We’re working with the DA because they are in clear violation,” Velázquez said. “We have a task force between my office and [Councilman] Antonio Reynoso and it’s really sad that we have to turn our offices into policing all these bad landlords, especially if they are dealing with Section 8 vouchers … but we were able to secure, to fully fund all the Section 8 vouchers during this last budget.”
This is Lee’s first time running for public office.
“As an immigrant, I have the ability to represent all of the communities in the district,” Lee said. “I have a strong sense of the spirit of service … even as a banker I’m serving the community in a really concrete sense.”
Lee wanted all members of District 7 to know, “we will be engaged, we will be present,” he said.
“We will be everywhere in every community in the district.”
The Congressional primaries will take place on June 28.