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Longstanding State Senator Faces Community Activist on Primary Day

By Katie Honan | September 8, 2014 3:29pm
 Toby Stavisky, who has been in the state senate for 15 years, faces a primary challenger by S.J. Jung. 
Toby Stavisky, who has been in the state senate for 15 years, faces a primary challenger by S.J. Jung. 
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QUEENS — A longstanding state senator who touts her years of experience is set to face off in Tuesday's primary against a local community activist who has been active in the protests against the Pan Am Hotel homeless shelter. 

State Sen. Toby Stavisky and S.J. Jung, a community activist and district leader who ran for city council in 2009, are battling for the 16th district in the state senate, which includes parts of Flushing, Oakland Gardens, Woodside and Elmhurst.

Jung, 50, has worked at the MinKwon Center for Community Action in Flushing since the 1980s, and was voted its president in 2006, according to his official biography.

He ran for John Liu's seat in the city council in 2009 but lost in the primary; Peter Koo, a Republican, eventually won the election.

Jung was elected district leader in his Flushing district in 2010 and has been active lately in the protests against the homeless shelters at the former Pan Am Hotel.


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Jung told the Daily News last week that he's running as a "reformer, who refuses to accept politics as usual" and hopes his time as a community advocate can help the district.

Stavisky, 76, has been in Albany since she was first elected in 1999, currently serving as the Assistant Democratic Leader and a member of the senate's Committee on Higher Education.

She faced John Messer in the 2012 primary, and later defeated Republic J.D. Kim in the general election.

Stavisky, who has been reelected seven times, says her position as the only female in the state senate and years of experience continue to make her the best candidate, according to the Daily News.