By Matthew Fischetti
Hailie Kim is running to represent the Sunnyside neighborhood she grew up in.
Kim, 29, is one of three candidates currently challenging Julie Won to represent City Council District 26 which stretches across chunks of Western Queens nabes like Sunnyside,Astoria, Long Island City, Woodside and Western Maspeth.
Kim, a 29-year-old professor, self described democratic-socialist and organizer is running on one main issue: education. It was her main issue when she ran for the seat in 2021. But Kim emphasizes that it was still her main issue after the City Council voted for the mayor’s budget, which the Comptroller’s office has estimated to total $469 million.
“I would make sure that there are no more cuts to public education in the next budget. I would, at the very least, negotiate to a place where I can get to a yes,” Kim said in a recent sit-down interview.
While Won did vote for the budget, she did secure over $5 million in capital funding for schools which are funds that help pay for construction, upgrades and more. Also,
Kim also emphasized that she would support measures such as reducing class sizes and institute bilingual education in order to improve reading and education scores.
“I think for students who need more actual in school, like structure, who are English language learners, having funds and resources to help them with their reading levels.”
In 2019, only 47.4% of students scored proficient in reading and only 45.6% of students scored proficient in math.
Beyond just education, Kim has said she would be a greater check on the Adams administration.
“The mayor was able to take advantage of the lack of experience of a freshman City Council. And that he was really able to strong arm them into just voting whatever way he wanted,” Kim said. “Because that budget was passed two weeks early.”
Kim also heavily criticized the mayor and city council adopted budget, which she likened to an austerity budget, criticizing further cuts not just to education but to public libraries and parks.
The Kim campaign has raised over $15,000 in funds thus far, qualifying the campaign for over $120,000 in matching funds.
The matching funds are part of a new program to help finance city council elections. If a candidate reaches over 75 contributors in their district for $10 or more, as well as matches other basic criteria, they can qualify for 8 dollars to be matched for every dollar donated.
Kim’s campaign has also forgoed taking money from real estate developers or police unions.
Kim told BQE Media that her path to victory will center around her focus on education issues.
“We will have the best field team out there and have as many people as possible knocking on doors, getting as many people talking about education as possible,” she said. “I think it is such an important issue, especially for a district that has one of the most crowded school districts in the city.”
Other declared candidates in the District 26 race include Lorenzo Brea and Marvin Jeffcoat. The primary for this election will occur on June 27 while the general election will happen on November 7.