Two Asian lawmakers are tossing their support to City Council candidate Paul Vallone in the crowded Democratic primary to replace embattled Republican Councilman Dan Halloran.
Vallone’s camp rolled out endorsements Monday from Rep. Grace Meng and Assemblyman Ron Kim, both Flushing Democrats who made history when they were elected last year.
“Paul Vallone is a strong fighter for his community and will make a dynamic and effective City Council member,” said Meng, the first Asian-American from New York elected to Congress. “Paul and I are both raising our families in Queens and know the importance of keeping our community a great place to live.”
Halloran, a Republican who was arrested on fraud charges, is not seeking re-election.
Meng and Kim are considered key because of their influence in the Asian-American community – which makes up about 18% of Democratic voters in the district.
The 19th City Council district, which includes a swath of northeast Queens including parts of Flushing, Bayside and Little Neck and Douglaston, has a large and growing Asian-American population.
Halloran won the seat in 2009 after a fiery match-up with Democrat Kevin Kim, who is not related to Ron Kim.
Kim’s supporters griped that Halloran was fanning anti-Asian sentiment in his campaign literature that showed pictures of crowded downtown Flushing.
There are no Asian candidates in the Democratic primary, which includes Vallone, Austin Shafran, Paul Graziano and former Assemblyman John Duane.
Kim broke ground last year as the first Korean-American elected to the state legislature.
He credited Vallone with helping “build a bridge between our communities.”