Palisades Park Mayor Christopher Chung will seek the Democratic nomination for State Assembly in the 37th district and has secured significant party support to win the open seat.
“I am humbled and honored by the overwhelming support I have received from committee members, elected officials, and residents throughout District 37 who have encouraged me to seek the nomination for Assembly,” Chung said.
Fort Lee Councilman Paul Yoon has decided not to run and will support Chung, a close political ally.
Chung faces Alexandra Soriano-Tavares, the Teaneck Democratic Municipal Chairman, for the backing of the Bergen County Democratic Organization.
The open seat was triggered by the retirement of Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg – called “irreplaceable and legendary” by Chung. The two Assembly members from the 37th, Gordon Johnson and Valerie Vainieri Huttle, are competing for the Senate.
Bergen Democrats expect the Senate race to have clarity soon, with one of the incumbents seeking re-election to the Assembly. The 37th is not expected to have two open Assembly seats.
Chung, who ousted an incumbent mayor in the Democratic primary three years ago, has pointed to the diversity of the 37th district, where the Asian population has grown rapidly over the last two decades.
“I am a proud first generation American whose parents left Korea in hope of a better future. I grew up and attended public schools in Tenafly before moving to Palisades Park, where I have volunteered for numerous local and school organizations, including serving as president of the PTA,” Chung said. “I have had the honor of holding elected office in Palisades Park for over 12 years, beginning as a school board member, then as a council member, before becoming, in 2019, the first Korean American elected Mayor in Bergen County’s history.”
If Chung wins, he will become the second Korean American to serve in the New Jersey Legislature. Republican Kevin J. O’Toole represented part of Bergen County in the Senate and Assembly.
“Today, there are many challenges facing our district and our state,” Chung said. “From helping our families and communities get through and recover from the pandemic, to ensuring our fair share of school funding, fighting back against racism and xenophobia, and keeping our communities safe from gun violence, there is a lot of work to be done.”
Chung was first elected councilman in 2013. He works as director of operations for Global Management, LLC. in Fort Lee.
“Throughout my years in public service, I have never been afraid to fight for what I believe in,” he said. “Should I have the honor of serving in the Legislature, I will always fight for our families and stand up for our shared Democratic values.”