“I’m not looking to maintain anything; I’m looking to bolster everything that’s right,” said John Liu , who is one of four candidates vying for the Democratic nomination. “The MacBride principles would be part of my philosophy as to how I run the office. I’ll be looking to strengthen those principles.
“Many of those principles could be applied to the way that city government does things right here in New York,” he added.
He indicated support for current Comptroller William Thompson’s $150 million Emerald Fund. “It’s a good investment. It will produce superior risk-adjusted rates of returns for pensioners,” he said.
Asked if he will work to ensure that Emerald Fund money would be targeted to the most disadvantaged parts of Northern Ireland, Liu said: “As comptroller, and part of the fiduciary responsibilities, I would never be able to designate a chunk of money without closely monitoring where that money is going. So I’d be looking at it very carefully.
“And I would also seek the guidance of people who are very familiar with the issues,” he added.
“I haven’t been to Ireland but that’s going to change,” he said, adding that he has always wanted to make the trip.
He said that immediately after graduating college he traveled around Europe, but the rail pass didn’t include Ireland.
Asked if supported the concept of a united Ireland, Liu said that he supported a “unified world.”
The Queens-based politician was born Chun Liu in Taiwan in 1967. He came to New York with his parents when he was a small child. His father, an admirer of the Kennedys, changed his first-born’s name to John and his own to Joseph. John Liu’s younger brothers are named Robert and Edward. The candidate said his mother drew the line at being called Rose.
Liu, a former manager at PriceWaterhouseCoopers, said that he backed comprehensive immigration reform, “I don’t think piecemeal works,” he said.
“America is the destination all over the world. It’s fueled in large part by our own media, which projects an image of everything being so peachy here in the United States,” he said. “So, we shouldn’t be so surprised how many people want to come here.
“We have to put systems in place that recognize that we do want people to come here and not treat everybody as criminals,” said Liu, who is married with one son.
“They want to be part of the greatest country in the world. We should value that; we should be flattered by that,” he said.
He said that in his eight years on the City Council he has seen immigration agencies operate in a ways that were “cold-hearted” and un-American.”
“When there’s a boom time, whether it be skilled or unskilled labor, we want people to come and add to the economy, and when there’s a downturn, all of sudden, it’s the immigrants’ fault. And that’s symptomatic of a system that just doesn’t work,” Liu said.
The other candidates in next week’s primary are fellow council members Melinda Katz, David Weprin and David Yassky.