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City Comptroller John Liu officially kicked off his mayoral campaign Sunday with a 15-stop traverse across the five boroughs.
Along the route, he made a stop in Flushing at a Hakka Lunar New Year celebration at the Mudan Banquet Hall at Queens Crossing at 136-17 39th Ave.
“I’m hoping the luck of the Irish rubs off on me,” said Liu, as he left the event on St. Patrick’s Day. “I’m going to spend the next six months showing the people of Queens and the city that I will fight for them.”
Liu spent time at the event with senior citizens in the Asian community and spoke briefly from the stage about the Hakka Association of NY Inc. and the Lunar New Year revelers.
“The association has shown for many years what it can do collectively,” said Liu, whose father is Hakka. “I feel very close to the Hakka Association.”
Hakka is one of the major Chinese cultural subdivisions and is a language spoken natively in parts of southeastern China.
Supporters at the Lunar New Year celebration chanted “John Liu, get elected!” as they dined on Hakka cuisine.
Chi Pu Peng, former president of the Hakka Association of NY Inc., said Lunar New Year is always a big event in Flushing, and it was made even bigger this year with Liu’s mayoral candidacy.
“He is well-liked in this community,” said Peng. “You can hear how excited they are to have him here.”
The comptroller formally began his run for mayor with a rally on the steps of City Hall earlier in the day. A spokesman for Liu said hundreds of supporters joined the the rally.
“I proudly announce that I am running to be mayor of the city of New York, because this is a city that makes a promise to us, that every single New Yorker has a chance to succeed,” Liu said from the steps of City Hall. “And I’m going to make damn sure that promise is fulfilled.”
Liu is the last of five major Democratic frontrunners to announce his candidacy for mayor, following a field that includes City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan), city Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, former Comptroller Bill Thompson and former city councilman Sal Albanese.
During the rally, Liu said he would stop the closures of underperforming schools and put an end to stop-and-frisk, a controversial NYPD practice.
“This can’t be a city of the rich and poor, of them and us,” he said. “New York needs to be one city. One city where we take care of the needy and take on the greedy.”
The announcement comes during an ongoing investigation into Liu’s campaign finances, with two of his former aides set to go on trial next month for conspiracy to commit fraud.
Liu’s spokesman said the comptroller has received over $3 million from more than 5,000 donors since November 2010 and the Liu campaign currently has more than $2 million in cash on hand.
If elected, Liu would be the city’s first Asian-American mayor.
Reach reporter Steve Mosco by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4546.
©2013 Community Newspaper Group
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