“She is going to say to you that Nydia Velázquez doesn’t speak Cantonese, Fujianese, or Mandarin, but my heart does,” Congresswoman Velázquez told a packed senior center off Mulberry Street in Manhattan. Although the line was a little cheesy, the cheered loudly when Councilwoman Margaret Chin finished translating it.
Ms. Chin, joined by Comptroller John Liu, was there to urge the center’s elderly residents to vote in tomorrow’s Democratic primary. The district, oddly configured, includes the heavily Chinese communities in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and Ms. Velázquez, with another campaign stop in Sunset Park in the afternoon, is clearly making a last-minute push for that community’s support.
“I’m reaching out to everywhere, everywhere,” Ms. Velázquez told The Politicker before addressing the crowd. “The Chinese community is an important community, I think [for] everything I’ve done for Chinese-Americans, I have to go back to remind them that this is important. From immigration reform to health care, all of the money that we have secured from the federal government for the community health center in Chinatown in Sunset Park as well as here.”
The incumbent congresswoman faces multiple challengers, notably Councilman Erik Dilan. While Mr. Dilan isn’t campaigning heavily in the district’s Chinese communities, another challenger, economist Dan O’Connor, is fluent in both Mandarin and Cantonese and has been focused in these areas, resulting in the need for Ms. Velázquez to avoid having these votes siphoned off.
For her part, Ms. Chin’s speech introducing Ms. Velázquez was entirely in Chinese, but Mr. Liu used a translator to make an impassioned case for both Ms. Velázquez ‘s and Assemblywoman Grace Meng’s congressional candidacies.
“So if you are in most of Queens … remember, we vote for Grace Meng!” he declared. “They’re not running against each other. We vote for Grace where we can, and we vote for Nydia where we can!”
Mr. Liu finished his speech by switching over to Mandarin, urging the audience to tóu piào, or vote. Upon hearing Mr. Liu delve into their language, the crowd went absolutely wild with applause. Ms. Velázquez subsequently made the rounds, shaking hands and introducing herself to smiling constituents.