By Hellen Zaboulani
Huge Ma, the founder of TurboVax, has announced that he will run for Queens Assembly District 37.
As reported by the NY Post, on Sunday, Ma, 31, made his candidacy official, in a bid to represent his home neighborhood of Astoria as well as Queensbridge, Dutch Kills, Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside, Ridgewood, and Maspeth.
A self-proclaimed “technology activist”, Ma is best known for TurboVax, a free website he created to help New Yorkers find online vaccination appointments. With background as a former software engineer for Airbnb, Ma built the website in January—in two weeks, with a budget of just $50. The inspiration came to him when he was desperately trying to find his mother an appointment to get the new COVID -19 Vaccine, and being dismayed by the dysfunctional New York City and State vaccine appointment systems. He says he set out to do something about the “broken system”. His site, which compiled available vaccine appointments in real time and sent available slots to Ma’s @TurboVax Twitter account, has helped maybe hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers to get their vaccinations.
“When the Mayor and Governor could not come together to deliver a single website to find a vaccine, Ma used his technology background to deliver a platform that helped hundreds of thousands of teachers, grocery store workers, and other regular New Yorkers get the vaccine,” his campaign said in a press release. “I only did what I thought was right and what was good for my neighbors,” Ma told The City. “I think that this is an extension of that.”
“I’m taking action now because we need a representative who will address our needs in District 37,” said Ma. “Very seldom do people have an opportunity to advocate for their neighbors, to improve their lives,” he said. “I am running to do justice to [my mom’s] sacrifice.”
Other issues he has tackled include combating anti-Asian hate. Also, he helped to raise $200,000 for Welcome to Chinatown, a nonprofit COVID-19 relief organization for local businesses. Ma said he is “fighting for true climate action, housing abundance, transit-first streets, good government tech, Healthcare for All, and Free CUNY.” As per his campaign website, his list of priorities include: proactive climate changes to reduce our carbon footprint, investing in public transportation and setting congestion pricing guidelines, expanding affordable housing, and improving the internet infrastructure.
“I took action when the needs of my neighbors weren’t being addressed,” he wrote on his campaign website.