Shinagawa, Meng win N.Y. Democratic primaries

YOUNGEST IN THE HOUSE? — Nate Shinagawa address supporters at Ithaca On The Commons after winning the Democratic primary in New York’s 23rd Congressional District. If he succeeds in the November general election, he could be the youngest member of the U.S. House Of Representatives. photo by Larry Shinagawa

Nate Shinagawa, a Tompkins County legislator and healthcare administrator, won the June 26 Democratic primary in New York’s newly drawn 23rd Congressional District with 55 percent of the vote, the Ithaca Indy reports.

Ithaca attorney Leslie Danks Burke came in second with 37 percent, followed by Oswego attorney Melissa Dobson with 7 percent.

Shinagawa, 28, will face off against incumbent Congressman Tom Reed, a Republican, in the November election.

“This whole victory was possible because we had support … across the 11 counties,” Shinagawa, a six-year legislator, told local television station YNN.

“People have been wonderful, they’ve shared their stories, and they’ve given me a reason to run.”

Shinagawa, a Berkeley, Calif. native, grew up in the Bay Area city of Santa Rosa in Sonoma County. His father, Larry Shinagawa, is on the Asian American Studies faculty at the University of Maryland.

In a message posted on his campaign Website on the night of the primary, Shinagawa marveled at how far the campaign had come in three months.

“There were plenty of people who thought this day would never come. Conventional wisdom told them that I was too young. That I was too strong a Democrat. That my last name sounded a little too funny. Too different. That my background in health care didn’t matter, and that it wasn’t popular to talk about health insurance for every American,” he stated. “Well folks, the cynics were wrong. They didn’t count on the appeal of our message, the strength of our organization and the passion of our volunteers.

They didn’t count on people finding excitement and optimism again in a local election.”

Shinagawa went on to explain what his campaign was about.

“This campaign is about getting Congress to prioritize, once again, making the American dream reality for people,” he stated.

“It’s about uplifting and empowering the working and middle class of this country. … It’s about ending the gridlock in Washington. It’s about rediscovering progress and cooperation, and actually getting Democrats and Republicans to work together, once again, to improve this great nation.”

According to the Cornell Daily Sun, if Shinagawa wins in November, he will become the youngest member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Also on June 26, New York state Assemblywoman Grace Meng won a four-way race in the Democratic primary for a chance to replace Democratic Rep. Gary Ackerman, a 30-year member of the House who is not seeking re-election for the newly drawn 6th Congressional District seat representing Queens.

Meng will face off against Republican New York City Councilman Dan Halloran in the November general election, trying to become the first Asian American to represent the city of New York in Congress.

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