Queens Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing) has officially endorsed entrepreneur Weihua Yan for the position of Nassau County Legislator for District 10. He’ll become the first Asian-American in the Legislature if elected and is running against Republican Mazi Melesa Pilip.
Yan, a Great Neck resident himself, brings to the table entrepreneurial experience as the founder of software and e-commerce companies. He serves as a partner at Rise Capital and as the chief technology officer at Wonder, Inc., a food delivery platform that connects top chefs from renowned restaurants with customers at home.
Meng, who has been a prominent figure in public service representing the Asian-American community in northeast Queens and at the national level, said Great Neck prosperity is personal to her, mentioning her father’s work in a Chinese restaurant nearby and her parents-in-law’s residence in Manhasset for two decades. Meng stressed the importance of giving a voice to the Asian-American community, especially considering the challenges it has faced in recent years through bigotry and violence.
“This is sort of a test for Asian-American community, right?” said Meng. “Our population outweighs our electorate numbers here in this district and here in Nassau County. And one of the best ways that we can prove that our voice matters, and that we should have a say in the seat of county government is to make sure we are getting new people to register and to come out for Weihau. People might look at the numbers of our community and say, well, they don’t really hold. We don’t want to pay attention to them. And the best way to refute that is to prove them wrong.”
Meng and Yan worked together attending rallies and protests in the community and want to continue working together while in the federal and local governments, respectively. Meng said Yan has exceptional skills in building alliances with other communities, such as the Jewish community, which helped them pass the Covid-19 Hate Crime Act legislation requiring the federal government to better track hate crimes and bias incidents.
“We were able to see a historic alliance of the Jewish community and the Asian American community,” Meng said, “And that’s something that we are going to, with Weihau’s leadership, continue to strengthen and expand on here in Nassau County.”
Yan’s personal background starts in 1987, when he arrived in America as a high school foreign exchange student. He said he started his journey with two suitcases and hardly any English.
But soon, “I was soon overwhelmed by the warmth and generosity of complete strangers,” Yan recalled, “And that motivated me to return and earn my bachelor’s and data master’s degree in computer science and to pursue my American dream…
“America has given me everything that I could only dream of and it’s time for me to give back to this great nation.”
He also wants to use his platform if elected to restore trust in local politicians, something waning since the George Santos fraud debacle. “I’m running to restore the trust and decency to our elected offices to ensure that we have fiscal responsibility and promote transparency in our government,” he said.
Jeff Shi, a friend of Yan’s for 35 years and a former member of the Great Neck Library Board, expressed his unwavering support for Yan, emphasizing his qualifications and dedication to serving the community. Shi described Yan as the “total package” and “undeniably American,” highlighting his leadership qualities and passion for a greener Great Neck economy and environment.
Yi Chen, a co-franchiser at the French bakery Tous les Jours where the endorsement event took place, emphasized the importance of choosing a representative who truly listens to the community’s needs. Chen believes that Yan is heading in the right direction by prioritizing the community’s rights, quality education, and small business assistance.
“As a local small business owner or member of the community, it’s the responsibility for who do we want representing our local community,” said Chen, “because oftentimes people are thinking about ‘oh these candidates running right? They might run for his agenda, he might run just to get popular or to be a politician.’ But at the end of the day, it’s all about our rights, our quality education, our small business assistance, that that person is going to represent me inside the government.”