Surrogate Court Candidate Holds Rally Ahead of Early Voting


Wendy Li, a candidate for surrogate court, speaks to rally-goers in Flushing. Credit: Jean Brannum


By Jean Brannum |

Surrogate Judge candidate Wendy Li hosted one last rally in front of the Queens Public Library in Flushing before early voting on June 14. 

Li, who promises to challenge the political ties in the surrogate court, galvanized supporters to vote early in the upcoming election. Most rally-goers and campaign staff spoke Chinese to the crowd. Li is known for having strong support of the Asian community in Queens. 

“We’re going to return the power to the people, and we’re going to have a better surrogate court that works for everyone,” Li said. 

Li also plans to challenge the court corruption related to adult guardianship. Sam Kleinplatz, a supporter, said he will vote for Wendy to end the monetary connections between surrogate courts and guardianship appointments. He found out about Li when he went to the borough president’s office to complain about the issue and met volunteers for Li’s campaign. 

The surrogate court oversees cases related to estates and dependents of the deceased. The judge will also appoint lawyers for the cases. Lawyers often receive payment from the proceedings.

An ABC7 investigation found that the adult guardianship system allows for so-called guardians to take financial advantage of their clients. Since guardianship strips adults of their right to decide how they spend their money and allows guardians to isolate adults from family and friends, the lack of accountability can lead to elder abuse. The investigation found evidence of judges in charge of guardianship cases receiving campaign donations from those in charge of guardianships. 

Another part of Li’s campaign is her lack of ties to political parties. The Queens Democratic Party endorsed Judge Cassandra Johnson. Li hopes to challenge the Party’s ties to the surrogate court. She hopes to bring diversity to the court and help people with language barriers. 

“For me, I think it’s important that our panels are actually from all communities, not just from one community. That means we will have attorneys who might be able to speak multiple languages,” Li told the Queens Ledger in a previous interview. “The diversity of the attorneys, especially the diversity of the language, is very important. I want to make our bench and our attorney panel more inclusive.”

Li reiterated that it is important for people to vote. The early voting period started on June 15 and will close on June 23. 

Click to read more about Li’s campaign platforms and to learn about Cassandra Johnson.

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