Hei Man “Heidi” Chan is looking to become the first Asian American woman GOP district leader in Brooklyn, running alongside Robert Cassara, her male counterpart.
If she were to win, the feat would allow her to help enact change in her district while also adding some diversity to the Republican Party.
“I’d be pretty proud to represent the Asians in Brooklyn. I think this party aligns with a lot of the values I have as an Asian,” said Chan.
However, her candidacy hasn’t come without issues.
Heidi Chan-Sarantopoulos is how she wanted her name to appear on ballots. Instead, The New York City Board of Elections (BOE) refused, obligating her name to appear as Hei Man “Heidi” Chan for no real reason.
“I don’t know why the Board of Elections rejected the name change. I’ve been known as Heidi basically my whole life,” said Chan.
Chan’s number one priority as a candidate is education and it’s the reason she entered herself in the race in the first place. She believes that the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT) should stick around.
“I want to save the school systems here. I don’t think changing the quotas for the elite high schools is a step in the right direction,” said Chan. “I think if enough focus is on the individual schools and bringing rigor into the curriculum and allowing the kids to excel I don’t think the test is going to be so skewed anymore.”
The rise of crime in the city is another concern of Chan’s. Bail reform, in particular, is an issue Chan feels needs to be tweaked. She attributes some of the rise in crime as a result of the bail reform which has allowed some repeat offenders to roam free.
Chan points to New Jersey’s model as an example. She suggests there needs to be more restrictions as to who qualifies and that judges should have more say in an offender’s bail.
“There needs to be some sort of guidelines but also some discretion on the judge as well,” said Chan.
Chan is running against Lucretia Regina Potter, who has lost the last two races in a row for the same position. Chan is hopeful a win could help bring about change in the Republican party.
“I want to introduce Asians to the Republican party,” said Chan. “I want representation for Asians in the Republican party.”