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Dems may move to oust Lester Chang from NY Assembly seat

Lester Chang took the oath of office Wednesday in the New York State Assembly amidst controversy that he lied about his residency.

The Gothamist reports the Democrats will decide in the next few days whether to move for a vote to unseat him. Chang is accused of using his mother’s home to claim residency in the district in south-central Brooklyn.

“I am confident. I am duly elected by the people. Supported by the people, from the people,” Lester Chang said Tuesday to Spectrum Local News, after being sworn in. “So, that’s my strength. That’s where it comes from. Everything else, my legal team, will address those issues.”

He won his seat by just 600 votes over Democratic incumbent Peter Abbate Jr. 

Chang reportedly owns an apartment in Brooklyn and voted using that address in 2021. By law he must be at a residency for one year to use it to run for office. He says he moved back to his childhood home to care for his mom. But a report by Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) concluded he only visited his mom, but never lived there.

“We had an extensive conference and we’ve pretty much heard from all of our members, and I’d say the overwhelming sentiment is: Members are very troubled at the findings in the report, and there’s a sense that the [state] constitution needs to be respected,” Heastie said to the Gothamist.

“I think it’s a terrible precedent,” Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay said to Spectrum Local News. “I think the last time it happened, interestingly enough, it was a Republican not seating socialists, maybe a 100 years ago. First of all, he’s going to be seated. That’s not the issue. What they are going to have to do is throw him out.”

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