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Kenneth Chiu Aims to Empower New York’s 25th District By Prioritizing Safety, Economic Relief

Alina Wang
A native of New York, Alina has a Bachelors degree in Corporate Communications from Baruch College and writes about human rights, politics, tech, and society.
Published: February 20, 2024
Hoping to represent the Asian-American community, New York City native Kenneth Chiu (center, seated) is vying for NYS Assembly in the 25th District. (Image: Vision Times Staff)

In the bustling heart of New York, where the spirit of community, hard work, and ambition intertwine, Kenneth Chiu emerges as a beacon of leadership and advocacy. Aspiring to represent the 25th District in the New York State Assembly, Chiu sat down with Vision Times on Feb. 17 to share what sets him apart and what he hopes to accomplish if elected. 

Born and raised in the city, Kenneth’s journey is one of resilience, dedication, and unwavering commitment to the welfare of his fellow New Yorkers. “My family immigrated to America in the 1970s,” said Chiu, adding, “I was given opportunities to live out the American dream, and I believe more people should, too.”

‘Politics chose me’

Chiu’s story begins in a working-class family, where the values of hard work, community service, and perseverance were instilled in him from a young age. With nearly two decades of service to the community, his career is a testament to his dedication to uplifting those around him — especially within the Asian American community. 

“A lot of issues affect my fellow Chinese community that I did not previously know,” said Chiu as he shared how he first got involved in politics after attending a volunteer event following the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in 2012. “The more I learned, the more I became angry, and more passionate [about the fact] that someone needs to fight and speak up for our fellow Chinese and Chinese community.”

Hoping to represent the Asian-American community, Chiu is running for New York State Assembly in the 25th District. (Image: Vision Times Staff)

After climbing up the ranks from working with a city councilman to working with a state senator, Chiu’s work has spanned various capacities. This includes aiding individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and serving constituents in the offices of New York State Assemblymen, Senators, and City Councilmembers.

“When I was volunteering in Red Hook, Brooklyn, for the recovery [of Superstorm Sandy], that’s how I got into politics. I didn’t choose politics — politics chose me.” 

A legacy of service and advocacy

Chiu’s advocacy is marked by notable accomplishments, such as leading protests against the city’s attempts to house formerly incarcerated individuals, including sex offenders, in Fresh Meadows, Queens. His efforts have also been pivotal in preserving the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT), safeguarding the laundromats industry, and addressing myriad community concerns with devotion and care. 

When asked about what he thinks is lacking for members of the Asian American community in the city, Chiu highlighted several legislative and policy changes that are negatively impacting these groups. 

“They put a shelter in our community, legalized marijuana and prostitution, the city and state [are] trying to change the specialized high school entrance exam or trying to cancel out gifted and talented programs, and the bail reform,” said Chiu, adding, “All of these can affect our Chinese community, but our government will never do good outreach to explain to us why [they’re making] these changes.”

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Empowering the community

Having previously run on the Democratic ballot, Chiu explained his decision to campaign for the Republican Party this time around. “I finally made a decision to switch to the Republican Party,” said Chiu after reflecting on the state of the Democratic party. “The current Democratic Party is unrecognizable, and I feel like many of the [GOP party’s] issues and positions are what my Asian community and my family resonate with.”

“We just want a very simple, safe neighborhood where we can go to work, raise a family, and have our children go to a good school. That is their American dream,” he added. 

Hoping to represent the Asian-American community, Chiu is running for New York State Assembly in the 25th District. (Image: Vision Times Staff)

Explaining why the bail reform is negatively affecting local businesses Chiu said, “Now, with the bail reform, the city and state are not doing anything to counteract issues like shoplifting. There’s no penalty. So these offenders can just keep committing crimes over and over, and they are getting more extreme. We need to stop this — we need to support the New York Police Department (NYPD) [in these efforts].”

Bolstering safety

Chiu’s leadership also extends beyond volunteer work and advocating for his community. As the founder of the Asian American Community Empowerment and the Property Owners Association of Greater New York, he has established platforms for dialogue and action that aim to address community issues and foster a stronger sense of unity and support. 

His commitment to ensuring public safety is also evident in his promise to fully fund and support the NYPD, reform bail and discovery processes, and expand the courts to expedite trials. By advocating for the return of qualified immunity and the empowerment of local neighborhood patrols, Chiu aims to create a safer environment for all residents.

Addressing the migrant crisis with a firm hand, Chiu proposes a campaign to reform the Federal government’s border policies, holding the government accountable for the costs and implications of lax enforcement. His stance on prompt removal of law-violating migrants also underscores his commitment to the rule of law and community safety.

MORE ON THIS: ‘This is a real problem’: NYC Mayor Seeks to Amend ‘Right to Shelter’ Law in Face of Waves of Migrants

Supporting homeowners

“We don’t even know who’s coming across the border — there are no background checks,” said Chiu, adding, “We’re not against immigrants. It’s the type of immigrants [that’s the issue], and some of these folks that are coming to New York are beating our police officers, they’re shoplifting our supermarkets and our stores.”

Hoping to represent the Asian-American community, Chiu is running for New York State Assembly in the 25th District. (Image: Vision Times Staff)

Chiu’s advocacy for a property tax cap also reflects his understanding of the economic pressures facing homeowners. By capping property tax increases at 2 percent and expanding housing court capabilities, he aims to provide relief and support to property owners. His vision also includes the development of Mitchell-Lama housing for veterans and seniors.

“Many homeowners never received any kind of [COVID-19] relief and they still had to pay their mortgages and taxes during the pandemic. Though there was a rent freeze and they couldn’t collect rent from tenants, there was no help for [these homeowners],” said Chiu, adding, “These are not millionaires. These are people, average Asian New Yorkers, who work 20, 30 years to save for their down payment, to buy their own home and settle down in New York City.” 

A call to action

Chiu’s life’s work — marked by advocacy, service, and leadership — reflects a deep-seated commitment to the well-being and prosperity of the community he hopes to represent. As voters consider their choices in the upcoming election, Chiu stands out as a candidate whose vision, experience, and dedication promise a brighter future for the 25th District and beyond.

When asked about what his campaign needs to secure a win, Chiu said, “If we’re able to stop the super majority, then the Republicans are at the table,” he said, adding, “Then they need to negotiate and that’s why I’m running. But I cannot do it alone — I need as many of my friends, concerned citizens, and voters to support me. I’m always available to speak to them.”

New York State’s general election will take place on Nov. 5, 2024. A primary is slated for June 25, 2024. The filing deadline is April 4, 2024.

With reporting by Ryan Wu and Mandy Liu.