ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Democrats in control of New York’s Assembly said last week that they would not expel a new Republican lawmaker “at this time,” despite their questions over whether he met residency requirements.
Democrats raised the issue after Lester Chang became the first Asian American elected to represent Brooklyn’s Chinatown in the state Assembly by defeating a longtime Democratic incumbent on Nov. 8. They questioned whether Chang lived in Brooklyn for a year prior to Election Day, as required by law, or in Manhattan.
Chang maintains his current residence is his Brooklyn childhood home. He was formally seated as an Assembly member on Jan. 4 despite rumblings from Democrats that they might block him.
“Although it is clear that there were more than enough votes to expel Mr. Chang, we will not do so at this time,” Democratic Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said in a prepared statement.
Heastie added that they have forwarded material from their residency investigation to criminal, civil and administrative authorities for their review.
Chang’s attorney called the Assembly statement outrageous and accused them of playing politics.
“The Democrats are running away from this problem because they know it’s a hot potato,” said Hugh Mo. “They don’t know how to end this thing.”