Jonathan Chung, Councilman Peter Koo's Chief of Staff
by Chase Collum
Mar 19, 2014 | 12338 views | 0 0 comments | 107 107 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jonathan Chung didn’t break into a life behind the scenes in city politics the way many in his field have done. In a world of who’s who, Chung pierced the scene through a Craigslist ad, and has since found much success.

“The truth is, I didn’t have connections, nobody spoke to anybody on my behalf,” Chung said. “In this business there’s a lot of people who know people, I didn’t have any of that, so when I got the position I was ecstatic about it, because it was really what I wanted to do.”

Chung originally entered politics while attending Adelphi University, where he served terms as representative senator and vice president of the student government. From there, he was able to secure an internship in Congressman Gregory Meeks’ Washington, D.C. office. But that only fed his hunger for political involvement.

“After I finished the internship I wanted to do it full-time,” Chung said. “I was lucky enough to find a position with [then-councilman] Peter Vallone, Jr.”

It was that position as community liaison that helped him break into local politics. He quickly ascended the ranks to become Vallone’s legislative director 18 months later, and three years after that, his chief of staff. He then transitioned to his current position in Koo’s office.

While Chung has no near-future ambitions to run for office himself – a fairly common move for chiefs of staff – he considers political work as his “calling,” and does what he can to represent even those who are uninvolved politically in his office’s constituency.

“You have so many folks who don’t pay attention to politics – life gets in the way of life, you know – and they entrust their elected officials, and in turn their staffs, to make the right decisions on their behalf,” Chung said. “What drew me especially to what I do, here’s this job where I can do good things for the community and connect people back to the political process.”

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