Edison mayor attends national convention


EDISON — Edison Mayor Jun Choi, speaking from the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colo., on Aug. 26, said he is excited at the prospect of Sen. Barack Obama possibly becoming the next president of the United States and, as a part of the New Jersey delegation, is eager to affirm him as his party’s nominee.

“I think that Barack Obama is a once-in-a-generation leader, with very unique abilities, especially the ability to bring people from different backgrounds together, and he has inspired a movement around the country, and lastly, I support him because of his specific policy positions in critical areas like education and health care,” Choi said during a phone interview with the Sentinel.

Choi, elected as a delegate to the convention in June, was at the convention to vote for the candidate as well as the party platform. He joined 145 other people in representing the state of New Jersey. He said that being a delegate at the convention is also a great opportunity for networking with political figures throughout the state.

“It’s an opportunity to speak with state legislators and the governor and your congressional representatives and party activists and other delegates throughout the state to discuss the future of the party,” said Choi.

When speaking about his support for the candidate, Choi said he believes the country needs to seriously move in a new direction because, according to the mayor, major challenges are not being addressed. He mentioned issues such as education, national security, fiscal deficits and the need for a “fundamentally new energy policy” as reasons why he believes that change is needed.

“These are challenges we need to work on, and the only way to accomplish that is through new leadership,” said Choi. When asked, he talked about local parallels between Obama’s efforts and his own in Edison as a relative newcomer in the local political scene. While the particulars vary, he said, one could still see some overarching commonalities.

“I think one can make some local analogies, and mainly it focuses on renewal, moving the local Democratic Party in a new direction, and that [direction] is one that supports good government. The issues are different locally, like stabilizing property taxes and getting new planning and economic development in place, but I suppose there are, yes, a local analogy that one can make,” said Choi.

Choi was an early supporter of Obama, having endorsed him in July 2007, and has spoken on his behalf in New Jersey on several occasions.