New York Democrats have scheduled a hearing to consider ousting Lester Chang of New York

State Assembly Democrats are pushing ahead with an attempt to block Lester Chang (R-Brooklyn) from taking his seat in January, claiming he failed to meet residency requirements when he shockingly won in November.

The assembly’s Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing in Albany at 9:30 a.m. on Dec. 19 to consider the matter ahead of a possible vote by the full chamber in January, according to a letter sent to Chang on Tuesday.

“As reported in the media and by other sources received by this committee, you have not resided in Kings County for the immediately preceding 12 months [your election] choice,” the letter to Chang said.

Chang voted in Manhattan last year and has yet to prove he meets the residency requirements to represent South Brooklyn, Democrats say.

Judiciary Committee member Thomas Abinanti (D-Westchester County) told the Post Tuesday that the investigation into the matter “is appropriate.

“State legislatures have an obligation to review the qualifications of their members when a serious challenge has arisen,” Abinanti said.

“Given the facts of this case, we appear obligated to investigate the allegations and provide a report to the spokesman, as requested.”

Assembly Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Lavine (D-Glen Cove, LI) did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

a man looking at the camera
State Assembly Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Lavine has called a hearing for December 19 to determine the whereabouts of electoral winner Lester Chang.
AP

Chang – who beat longtime Dem Rep. Peter Abbate, Jr. 48.6% to 47.49% – also didn’t respond when asked if he would attend the hearing, which is about whether he lives in Kings County as required by the state constitution.

But Chang spokesman Bill O’Reilly said in a press release Monday, “A refusal to put Congressman-elect Chang in the state legislature would be a resounding slap in the face to Asian-American and other Brooklyn constituents who proudly support him.” supported his historic election win.”

Chang has claimed he lives in Midwood, Brooklyn with his mother.

a man is standing
Republican Lester Chang has claimed he lives in Midwood, Brooklyn with his mother.

Legal experts say the lower chamber has significant legal room to challenge and remove him by majority vote.

If the assembly voted to boot Chang, Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul could call a special election to fill the seat.

A man looking at the camera
State Assemblyman Peter Abbate, Jr. unexpectedly lost re-election in November.

“This will be a public hearing where Mr. Chang will have an opportunity to respond to questions and present evidence that he meets the constitutional requirements to serve in the legislature,” said Michael Whyland, a spokesman for Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) on Tuesday.

But some Asian Americans in Brooklyn say blocking Chang at this point would amount to disenfranchising voters like themselves, particularly in newly drawn Assembly District 49, which includes parts of Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and Bensonhurst.

Chang’s supporters voiced their grievances Tuesday at a rally outside Abbate’s district office on Fort Hamilton Parkway.

“There will be a backlash from Asian voters and Chang supporters if Chang doesn’t sit,” said protester Yiatin Chu, president of the Asian Wave Alliance advocacy group.

Chang has relied on that argument while pushing back public opinion in court by claiming he should serve without fulfilling the Democrats’ coveted burden of proof.

“The Democratic Party is effectively telling the Asian-American community to drop dead here — that any attempts to break with their party and their awakened anti-Asian ideology will not go unpunished,” representative O’Reilly said. “This puts the New York Democrats in a fight they wish had never started.”

https://nypost.com/2022/12/06/albany-dems-set-hearing-to-mull-ousting-brooklyn-republican-lester-chang/ New York Democrats have scheduled a hearing to consider ousting Lester Chang of New York

JACLYN DIAZ

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