Western Brooklyn

Billy Thai Running For Male District Leader Of 47th AD: ‘It’s Time For A Chinese American-Born Elected Official’

Courtesy of Billy Thai

An electrical engineer from Bensonhurst has announced that he is running for male district leader for the 47th Assembly District, challenging incumbent Charles Ragusa.

Billy Thai, who works for Con Edison, penned a letter announcing his candidacy, saying “the time has come for the Chinese American community of South Brooklyn to finally have an elected Chinese American-born elected official.”

Thai says watching the case of ex-Officer Peter Liang — who is from Bensonhurst — as well as the city’s move to eradicate the admissions test for specialized high schools, prompted him to get involved in politics.

“Over the past several months, I have witnessed through the media more and more injustice, neglect and mistreatment towards the Chinese American community,” Thai writes in a letter posted to his website. “A series of events have happened in recent times lead me to believe that Chinese Americans are being targeted with unfair racial discrimination.”

A graduate of Brooklyn Tech High School and NYU Tandon School of Engineering,Thai laid out some of the sacrifices his family made to enable him to achieve his academic pursuits — including traveling between Brooklyn and Queens for tutoring on the weekends to prepare him for the Specialized High School Admission Test (SHSAT).

Map of Assembly District 47
Map of Assembly District 47




Similarly, Thai criticized the manslaughter verdict in the Liang case, saying the killing of unarmed father-of-two Akai Gurley was an accident, and should have been treated as such.

The Peter Liang trial has mobilized the Chinese American community in southern Brooklyn to become more active in city government. Rallies following the former officer’s indictment drew thousands, and the borough’s first ever  Asian American Democratic Club was celebrated in Sunset Park last month.

“My goal is for the Chinese Community to rise up together and unite behind my historic candidacy and help elect me as the first Chinese American-born elected officials,  so that someone who is truly from our community, who is completely independent of any elected official’s control, can truly speak and advocate on behalf of the Chinese American family of Bensonhurst,” he concluded.

Thai appears to be drawing a distinction between Chinese American and Chinese American-born. Nancy Tong, who was born in Hong Kong and became Brooklyn’s first-ever Asian American elected official, was elected female district leader of the 47th Assembly District in 2014.  The district covers Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, and parts of Gravesend.

The election for district leader takes place on September 13.

Comment policy


  1. Nancy Tong was not elected to anything. She has never appeared on the ballot for district leader.

  2. Just to be clear, nancy tong was appointed and she is not an elected officials. She can be the first chinese american district leader in brooklyn. But definitely not first chinese american elected officials.

  3. I guess with a mostly immigrant community, who does not know when to use the singular tense versus the plural tense, writers such as Silberstein or the Sheepshead bay Elf, may not realize that these two are illiterates. But, I doubt that this is the case. Someone with an engineering degree from NYU, probably knows English rather well too. To these bigoted progressives like our Mayor or Governor, doing away with standardized tests means all things Black, Black and more Black. I am no conservative, but our elected liberal officials are bigots and terrorists, who favor Blacks over the other races, because they are 4 times more likely to commit a crime.

  4. As a wise man once said: We need to actively engage and empower grassroots leaders from all of the borough’s diverse communities and prepare them to be the next generation of Democratic leaders in southern Brooklyn. The strength of our party depends on our ability to welcome new faces and new voices; increased diversity brings a vitality that is essential to our future success as a party. It is for these reasons that I am proud to support Billy Thai.

  5. Wait he thinks that a Chinese-America getting to walk free after gunning down an innocent black man is an injustice to Chinese people. What a racist. Peter killed a man, didn’t help him after he shot him, and now just has to wash dishes for 800 hours and he still complaining. This dude is as racist as hell.

  6. he didn’t say he wanted peter to walk off scotch free…..he’s just saying that peter didn’t intend for it to happen…

  7. Never heard district leaders are appointed. Nancy Tong was on the ballot and elected.
    Love to see you attacking one of your own, that is what Chinese American dreaming.
    Not a chance against Charles Ragusa. Keep dreaming Billy.

  8. no one has ever casted a vote for nancy on any election day. If anyone did cast a vote to nancy in the past, let me know.

  9. There was black kid who was playing with fire and fire got out of control and killed a cop. He is in jail for MURDER. He didn’t try to kill anyone, but he went to jail for murder. Peter heard a sound and pulled the trigger to his gun and killed someone. and all he has to do is wash dishes.

  10. I understand your point. It’s also the fault of the criminal law system… We need to fix it to create justice. There still isn’t justice.
    Well Peter should serve some time in jail (not for life) for his part in pulling the trigger but I don’t know what the “right” amount of time is. Maybe Billy believes that too but isn’t explaining that explicitly.

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