FHAA president runs for City Council
by Sara Krevoy
Aug 12, 2020 | 4704 views | 0 0 comments | 252 252 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Edwin Wong, president of the Forest Hills Asian Association, is running to represent City Council District 29.
Edwin Wong, president of the Forest Hills Asian Association, is running to represent City Council District 29.
In the seven-candidate race to replace Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz, Edwin Wong has positioned himself as one that will seek to unite District 29 and its diverse communities.

“We need change and we need progress,” said the longtime community advocate, “and being able to bring everyone together is what I see as my greatest strength.”

Wong is president of the Forest Hills Asian Association (FHAA), which he established in 2015 to advocate for and engage with neighborhood residents.

For the last five years, FHAA has hosted a Forest Hills State of the Civic event where representatives from organizations throughout the community update each other on their efforts.

If elected to the City Council, Wong plans to continue this tradition on a larger scale by starting off each year with a State of the District Town Hall, followed by quarterly town halls rotating through the district’s neighborhoods in order to understand the concerns of constituents.

As a member of Youth/Education Committee of Community Board 6, Wong intends to focus attention on developing the district’s schools, which he says are currently overcrowded. He hopes to increase the district’s capacity by creating extensions to existing institutions, as well as building new schools.

Wong says he would also advocate for free 3-K in District 29, ensure that every family has access to the internet at home, and spotlight the interests of students enrolled in ENL/ELL and special education curriculums.

He is a proponent of both expanding Gifted and Talented programs and preserving the specialized high school exam, and has proposed free SHSAT test prep.

When it comes to the DOE’s diversity plan, which involves swapping students at middle schools in Forest Hills, Rego Park and Kew Gardens with students in Jamaica, Wong believes there is room for improvement.

“Nobody is against diversity, but it’s all about how you implement that plan,” he said, noting that parents may have safety concerns regarding their children having to take public transportation to commute to schools in another neighborhood.

Wong also noted the lack of feedback and representation of individual parents, as well as Community Education Councils, in the planning process.

Universal home care for seniors, regardless of income, is another component of Wong’s aspirations for the district. He would supplement the program with more secured housing for seniors, internet access at senior centers, and a $1,000 monthly “Senior Independence Check” to help with rent, food and medical costs.

Wong has a similar plan for veterans, which includes a $1,000 monthly “Veterans Victory Check,” programs to assist with transitioning to the civilian workforce, and requiring real estate developers to allocate housing units for veterans.

He has proposed a “community first” approach to stimulating the district’s small businesses with events that bring more customers to the area. Wong would also advocate for fair rents, in addition to fostering women and minority-owned small businesses.

Some additional aspects of Wong’s campaign include preserving the Q60 and Q23 bus routes within the MTA’s boroughwide bus redesign, revisiting the implementation of bike lanes, and reinvesting the billions of dollars slated for the city’s borough-based jail plan toward initiatives that benefit working families.

Wong is a board member of the Alliance for Flushing Meadows Corona Park, and was most recently elected as Democratic State Committee male member for Assembly District 28, which includes areas of Forest Hills, Rego Park, Kew Gardens, Middle Village, Richmond Hill and Glendale.

He would have to vacate the position if elected to the City Council in 2021.
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