As Julie Won seeks re-election to her western Queens City Council seat, her Democratic opponent, housing organizer Hailie Kim, is taking aim squarely at her vote on last year’s city budget.

“I am running for City Council because crucial services were cut last year,” Hailie Kim said in her opening statement Tuesday during an exclusive debate on NY1.

What You Need To Know

  • Queens City Councilwoman Julie Won and challenger Hailie Kim are facing off in next week’s Democratic primary
  • City Council District 26 covers parts of Astoria as well as Long Island City, Sunnyside and Woodside

  • Won came under fire for her vote on last year’s city budget, which included cuts to education and other city services
  • Won defended her negotiations on the $2 billion Innovation QNS development, which resulted in more than 1,400 affordable units, but Kim thinks the project’s funding remains unclear


Your Voter Guide on the Spectrum News App


The budget agreed to by the mayor and City Council last June included cuts to education that some City Council members later said they hadn’t fully understood at the time. But on Tuesday, Won suggested her opponent was giving misleading and shifting numbers.

“This week, we got a negative mailer from you saying that it was $690 million from the city budget, so can you help me understand the differences in the numbers that you’re citing?” Won asked her opponent during the cross-examination portion of the debate.

“There were in fact, in our district alone, $33 million worth of cuts,” Kim responded.

City Council District 26 covers parts of Astoria as well as Long Island City, Sunnyside and Woodside.

Among the most contentious issues in the district since Won took office: the $2 billion Innovation QNS development project.

Won withheld support until the last minute, negotiating for more affordable housing units.

“We made sure that for the 100% affordable housing units within the development were funded by [the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development], so that no matter what happens in the state, that the affordable housing continues to go on,” Won said.

But Kim says the project’s funding remains unclear.

“I think one of the jobs of the Councilmembers is to work with state legislators to make sure that we are understanding where this payment is coming from, and not to give wealthy developers whatever they want,” Kim said.

The two candidates were in agreement on many issues, including e-bike regulations, the migrant crisis and problems at the New York City Housing Authority. The wedge issue was Won’s budget vote last year.

“I think the mayor was able to take advantage of a very young freshman Council, and get his own way,” Kim said. “And we need people there — at this point, I hope the City Council has learned that this is what he is going to try and do.”