FIRST!: John Liu and Margaret Chin

Josh Haner/New York Times

It’s official! John C. Liu was sworn in as Comptroller on Friday —  a very tough job — facing what he called “the biggest budget crisis in decades”. Raised in Queens and the son of Taiwanese immigrants, Liu is the FIRST! Asian American elected to a city-wide office in NYC. And the most titillating NY celebrity sighting I’ve ever experienced (at the newly minted Museum of Chinese in America). FIRST!

William Alatriste/NYC Council

In related FIRSTs!, Hong Kong-born Democrat Margaret Chin (and former Executive Director at Asian Americans for Equality) was sworn in recently as a City Councilmember representing Lower Manhattan’s District 1, which includes Chinatown. Believe it or not, Chin is the FIRST Asian American ever to represent Chinatown, beating out two-term incumbent Alan Gerson on her fourth try. Ah, the echoes of the ol’ Tammany Hall crooked political machine….no more! Hopefully, Chin’s representation will help further empower the Chinatown community, one of the poorest and most linguistically isolated areas of the city. Chin will be the only Asian American woman on City Council. FIRST!!

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