Dec. 12, 2022 By Christian Murray
The Democratic primaries for city council seats take place next June and Councilmember Julie Won officially has a challenger for the 26th District seat to represents western Queens.
Hailie Kim, a Sunnyside resident who ran in the Democratic primary for the seat last year, launched her campaign Saturday at Doughboy Plaza in Woodside. She says her campaign will focus on elevating public education, noting her opposition to this year’s cuts to the education budget by Mayor Eric Adams and the city council.
Adams slashed the education budget by approximately $400 million. Kim said the budget should be increased, not pared back.
The mayor cut the education budget noting that public school enrollment was down, and that the city was facing a budget cliff—with federal COVID relief about to run out. The city council voted in support of the budget.
Won defended her vote in favor of the budget at the time, saying that she faced an up or down vote.
“The vote on our city’s budget is not neatly confined by multiple votes for each area– but a single vote for the budget in its entirety. This meant a “No” vote on the budget would mean a vote against allotted funding for hard fought historical funding for immigrants, much needed human service cost of living adjustments….”
Kim said that the cuts to the education budget will have a big impact on immigrants.
“This is a difficult time for Queens families, especially immigrant students, and I am running to serve our community because we deserve so much more than this,” Kim said. “We need to set our expectations higher. This is our home, and I will fight for us.”
Kim, whose family immigrated to Woodside from South Korea when she was a child, attributes public education as having “a transformational effect on her family.”
Her mother worked as a nail technician and her father ran a small business. Kim, who is now fully focused on running for city council, is a former Hunter College adjunct/educator and former Minkwon Center for Community Action staff member.
As a city council member, Kim said she would not only restore and increase education funding from 3-K to CUNY, but also fight for deeply affordable social housing, press for lower property taxes for working-class families, and advocate for true community safety.
Kim came in eighth in last year’s primary in a 15th person race in which Won prevailed.
Won, who also immigrated to the U.S. from South Korea as a child, was elected to a two-year term, with the term shortened from the traditional four-year term due to redistricting. The winner of next year’s race will also only be elected to serve two years.
Two other candidates have filed to run for the seat. Lorenzo Brea, who finished 14th in last year’s Democratic primary for the seat, has filed. So too has Marvin Jeffcoat, a Republican, who Won defeated in November’s general election.
Hailie Kim was interviewed by the Queens Post last year prior to the Democratic primary in 2021. The following is a recording of that interview.