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Koo says he will run in 2013 at fund-raiser

Flushing’s city councilman has announced he will be running to remain in that role for another four years.

Peter Koo (R-Flushing) made the official disclosure before a crowd of hundreds at a gala ceremony at Mudan Banquet Celebration Center Feb. 17, drawing cheers of support and rousing applause.

“Tonight I am raising money to help me as I seek re-election as your Council member. I know firsthand how tough these economic times are for all of us and, therefore, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support and generosity,” he said. “With your friendship, help and support, not only will we be victorious in 2013, but we will create a better community for our loved ones.”

The event at Mudan, on the second floor at 136-17 39th Ave., brought together a wide group of local community members, civic leaders and a range of Koo’s Republican colleagues, including Councilmen Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) and Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park). It also attracted people of various nationalities, including many members of both the Chinese-American and Korean-American communities, demonstrating the cross-appeal Koo has built in his ethnically diverse district.

James McClelland, Koo’s chief of staff, said it exceeded their expectations for fund-raising, although he declined to say how much the councilman actually raised. That number will be available when Koo next submits a campaign finance disclosure statement.

“What was revealed was the amount of support Peter has today rather than when he first ran. There’s a wider base of support,” McClelland said. “We had over 350 people there for his first re-election event. It’s definitely encouraging to see all these people come out to support him.”

No challengers were listed Tuesday on the city Campaign Finance Board’s web site as planning to run against Koo in 2013, but the race is still in its absolute infancy and there are rumblings among northeast Queens political types that the field could eventually include as many as six or seven candidates as it did in 2009.

Koo has officially begun the gritty work of raising money for his campaign, but his remarks still focused in large part on the future during his address Tuesday night.

“Government can no longer turn a blind eye to the plight of the people or deaf ear to the pleas of the hardworking taxpayer,” he said. “I will fight for the real change that will make a positive difference in people’s lives.”

Koo also distributed personal awards for community service to eight local leaders, including Don Capalbi, president of the Queensboro Hill Neighborhood Association.

“To me, a recognition for community service has special meaning when coming from Peter Koo, who has long exemplified generosity to our community,” Capalbi said.

Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at csheets@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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