Candidate Biography

Steven Lee

 

          Steven Lee is a native New Yorker, first-generation Asian-American, and a father of a wonderful teenage daughter and son on the way. Born in Brooklyn Flatbush and later raised in Queens to two immigrant parents, Steven cherished the wonderful opportunity to grow up in Flushing, Queens, one of the most diverse communities in the world. Growing up in Flushing, Steven was able to see many people succeed and realize their American Dream; though he also faced many obstacles due to his minority status. Steven pledged to serve and uplift his diverse community, and has stayed committed to this goal for many years. 

          Steven realized his childhood dream of becoming a member of the New York City Police Department in January 2005. In 2013, Steven was proudly promoted to the rank of Sergeant within the NYPD and transferred to the 109th Precinct, which serves the northeast portion of Queens, including Downtown Flushing. Shortly after his promotion, however, in 2014-2015, Sgt. Steven Lee discovered widespread corruption that was poisoning the police department in his community. In his role as Sergeant, Steven led the effort to uncover and fight the corruption he discovered, which resulted in the arrest of multiple police officials who violated public trust.  He worked collaboratively with investigators to make public these abuses.  Steven still proudly works in the NYPD to fight corruption and protect the people he swore to serve.

          When the Coronavirus pandemic began Steven immediately initiated relief efforts and charity drives to help those in need, not only in Flushing, but all around New York City.  Steven’s opponent, however, immediately left the city to shelter in place at his country home upstate.  After the murder of George Floyd, Steven quickly became active in peaceful demonstrations protesting police brutality, and has participated in several events to help bring Asian communities and Black communities together. After the horrific incident in July where an elderly Asian woman was set on fire in Brooklyn, Steven took action and supported public demonstrations to raise awareness and supported efforts to fight Anti-Asian discrimination.  This effort resulted in the creation of a taskforce to combat anti-Asian hate crimes. As an active police officer, Steven understands the systemic issues in our government and justice system that have failed many individuals for years. He is committed to fixing the problem through fighting racism and corruption, and promoting unity and understanding.  At this chaotic moment in time in which the pandemic has shed a light on the corruption and failures of our current government, Steven feels that he has a higher calling now to serve his community as a representative in the New York State Assembly.

          As your representative in the New York State Assembly, Steven would always put the needs of Flushing first and foremost. He would fight against corruption and mismanagement at the city and state levels. Steven is a champion of Universal Basic Income, and will make it a priority to implement UBI on the state level. He will use a pro-small business agenda to stimulate the economy, give direct cash payments to small business owners who have been affected by the Coronavirus, and provide immigrants a pathway to citizenship to prosper, thrive, and realize their American Dream.  Steven would urge responsible real estate development and create an environment that encourages increased housing that is affordable for all. He would also fight for a better educational system, fair wages, and free healthcare for all.

          If Flushing is to continue to grow and prosper, the community needs leadership that has a proven track record of working with the community, who is focused on the future, and who has demonstrated he understands the needs of the community.  As demonstrated by his bold actions in the NYPD to fight corruption, Steven Lee is focused on doing the right things with integrity and grit.  He is diligently working for Flushing’s success, and he will proudly continue these efforts to serve Albany and the community he represents. 

 

About Steven Lee

 

          Steven Lee is running for Assembly as an Independent in New York Assembly District 40.  He is running for Assembly because the people deserve accurate representation and a leader who will amplify the constituents’ voices.  He is making history running as an active law enforcement member, and as a First Generation Chinese-American.  New York is facing a difficult challenge paying day to day bills due to the covid-19 crisis, unsafe communities, and people are actively suffering from lack of access to food and quality healthcare. Politicians have forgotten our communities, fail to keep us safe, and people continue to struggle to survive. We need true representation and someone who will fight so that everyone has a fighting chance to provide for themselves and their families, a good home, an education, to feel safe in their community, and a good job.  Steven will bring the voices of Flushing and Whitestone to Albany and fight for a more just and equitable society for everyone. Steven is running because Flushing and Whitestone deserves a leader that represents the true concerns of the people. Together we can continue to fuel a people-powered movement that will bring Flushing and Whitestone voices to the table at Albany!

 

Candidate Q&A

 

Why are you running for Assembly?

          I am running for Assembly because it’s time that Flushing and Whitestone have true representation. I am a long resident of Flushing and I have seen in our communities like mine go ignored by our elected officials for far too long. Our local government has failed to provide the people, especially in the time of COVID-19. Growing up, I have seen my neighbors and friends speak up and ignored by those in power for far too long, I know what it means to attend a public school, and I know what it means to live in Flushing and Whitestone. From a young age I have been raised in a minority community and later to have joined the New York Police Department. I have seen and experienced both sides and know that the community and law enforcement need to work together to help heal our community. I have broken the blue wall of silence and spoken up against Police corruption only to face backlash from other officers. I have also had the pleasure to work with many Good Police Officers. I can help with reforming law enforcement, so that it would be a more just and fair policing for our communities and to ensure that my community’s voice is heard. I believe that running is for everyone and it should not be limited to the rich, established, or well-connected. I am the only active Police Officer to be running for office in the New York Assembly and as a grassroots movement we will fight to address Flushing and Whitestone’s most pressing issues.

 

What makes you the best candidate for the job?

           I am the best candidate for the job because being a long resident of Flushing and Whitestone my life experiences are invaluable. I know first hand that it is vital that we fund our community to ensure that everyone receives money in their pockets to help feed their families, pay rent, and for bills. Having lived in the most diverse city my entire life, I know the negative effects that misrepresentation can have. It is extremely important that we ensure that we can provide funding for our people to recover from covid19, safety in our streets, health care, provide jobs, and educational programs for all ethnicity. These people, who are my friends and neighbors, are the backbone of the district and we need to ensure that every resident has a dignified job and a place to call home. I have walked the streets of Flushing and Whitestone my entire life, I have organized in my district, I have volunteered around my community, I have advocated for justice, I have organized to ensure that our voices are heard, and I am running as the voice of the people in Assembly District 40. 

What is your political background? What experiences have made you suitable for local political office? 

          I am NOT a career politician, I have been a Civil Servant for 15 years. I swore to uphold an oath to protect and serve the people of this great city equally and unbiased. As a Police Officer I know first hand on the frontlines of the community the issues and concerns of the community. As a whistleblower, I also know first hand how corruption in government poisons our great community and harms our people. As a working class, I know first hand how hard it is to make ends meet, especially when our politicians abandoned us during this epidemic. They lie to us with their false promises to gain our votes and then turn their backs when elected. While organizing grassroots movement campaigns within the city and my community I know we will build a grassroots movement that addresses issues with Universal Basic Income, education, and criminal justice with my Assembly campaign. I am suitable for office because I am not tied down to the political establishment, corruption, or those who do not have our community’s best interest in mind and I know what my community needs and I am ready to continue to fight for them in Albany.

What do you believe are the three most pressing concerns in your district? 

          Three of Flushing and Whitestone’s most pressing issues have to do with Recovery from Covid-19 (Money for Rent, Money for Small Businesses, Money for survival, and Job Creation), providing safety for the people in our streets while practicing a humane criminal justice system that ends the over-policing of our community, and a fully funded educational system that is available to everyone in the community equally. 

 

What are the most important issues or policies for your campaign? 

          It is extremely important that we stop selling our communities to career politicians who do not have our best interest in mind nor represent our issues and concerns. Being on the frontlines during the Covid-19 epidemic everyday I have seen the people suffer from loss of income. I have also seen politicians who have deceived and failed communities like mine. This is why I am fighting to fund small businesses, landlords and push for an Universal Basic Income to help everyone get through this epidemic and recover from their losses, expand public housing, give democratic control to public housing tenants, and for permanently affordable housing. We need to push for rent freezes, grants and loans for landlords so both sides can recover from this financial crisis. Push for job creation and a U.B.I. which would put money in everyone’s pockets to help with the day to day bills.

          Similarly, it is vital that we continue to provide and invest in the future of our community and fully fund public education for all equally. Growing up in the NYC public school system I have firsthand seen how the system can be. In one of the most diverse school systems in the country, but our children do not receive the quality education and opportunities that they deserve. We need to  reinvest in schools to ensure that every school has access to a nurse, a counselor, a library, and college preparation; and ensure that every student has free access to food and public transportation. The youth of New York is our future and more than 50 million students go through our public school system to receive an education. We need to fully fund our public schools and truly provide a quality education for the future of our community. 

          On top of this, we need to reform our criminal justice system which is rooted in politics and the marginalization of people. While in the streets protesting police brutality and demanding justice, it was clear that the community and police need to work and cooperate hand and hand. There is no reason why we can not work together. Nobody should be targeted or harassed by police for the color of their skin or social status nor should we pass judgement upon people due to their job profession or a uniform. I am advocating and fighting for truly reforming the NYPD and our community to work together. I am fighting against the corruption of the system and still recognizing that there are good police officers.  I know that reform will fix this, so we need to transform our criminal justice system to a more humane system and also invest in our communities. 

 

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