Steven Raga wins primary election for New York state assembly

Steven Raga, who won the primary election for the New York State Assembly District 30 seat on Tuesday, June 28, speaks before his supporters and volunteers in Queens.

STEVEN Raga is one step away from the New York State Assembly.

As the New York State primary elections concluded on Tuesday night, June 28, it became apparent that Raga won his campaign for Assembly District 30 and will become the official Democratic candidate.

He is now on the November ballot against his Republican opponent. If elected, Raga would make history and become the first Filipino American to be elected to serve in the state assembly. There are 150 seats in the New York State Assembly that serve two-year terms without term limits.

“We’re going to the general election this November, we’ve won the primary. This is the first time that we will have AAPI representation in this district, the first time that a Filipino American will represent,” Raga said, speaking before supporters and volunteers as they waited for the election results.

A former chief of staff of Assemblymember Brian Barnwell of District 30 who announced last April that he won’t be running for reelection, Raga was thrust into the position when he was selected by a committee to determine who would replace Barnwell on the ballot.

“I am proud of the campaign that Steven and his team ran in about three short months, and we are witnessing a historic event happening now in New York, in Queens,” said Rep. Grace Meng, who thanked Raga’s campaign volunteers for their “hard work, and hitting the pavement every single day.”

Raga amassed a slew of endorsements from elected officials and community and civic leaders such as Congresswoman Meng, Congressman Gregory Meeks, State Sen. John Liu and Assemblymembers Ron Kim and Catalina Cruz.

Assembly District 30 has undergone significant change due to redistricting. It currently covers the neighborhoods of Woodside, Maspeth, Elmhurst, along with parts of Jackson Heights. The district is one of the most diverse in the state and is majority AAPI (Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders).

Meng described Raga as the perfect candidate for the position, having served as the chief of staff for four years, has run nonprofit organizations, and worked tirelessly in the district during the pandemic.

Raga was optimistic that his team’s hard work was going to pay off. At a fundraising dinner held at the residence of community leader Loida Nicolas Lewis last week, he said he was looking forward to proudly wearing a Barong Tagalog on the floors of the New York State Assembly if he gets elected.

“I guarantee that with this support, with this level of excitement and enthusiasm and all of the volunteers coming every day, and crowds and events like this,” he said. “In less than seven days, we will make history.”

On Tuesday night, Raga’s words came true and he made history, garnering more than 70 percent of the vote cast.

Momar G. Visaya

Momar G. Visaya is the Executive Editor of the Asian Journal. You can reach him at momar.visaya@asianjournalinc.com.

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