Campaign Finance Board names City Council debate sponsors
There are two City Council elections in November in which the incumbents are not running for re-election. Councilmembers Vincent Gentile (D-Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst) and Darlene Mealy (D-Bedford-Stuyvestant-Oceanhill-Brownsville) are both term-limited and cannot seek reelection.
The fact that Gentile and Mealy are coming to the end of their Council tenures means that their districts will have new representation starting on Jan. 1, 2018.
With that in mind, the New York City Campaign Finance Board (CFB) is seeking to engage voters by launching a new program of candidate forums in council districts with open seats. There are eight such district across the city, including the two in Brooklyn.
The dates and times for the forums in Gentile’s and Mealy’s districts haven’t been set, but CFB recently announced the sponsoring organizations for the sessions.
In the 41st Council District, which Mealy represents, the forum sponsor will be the Ocean Hill-Brownsville Coalition of Young Professionals.
The East Kings County Alumnae Chapter, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. will sponsor the forum in the 43rd Council District, which is currently represented by Gentile.
Both of the forums will take place before the primary on Tuesday, Sept. 12, according to CFB.
Part of the aim is to increase voter turnout by providing voters with the tools they need to make informed choices at the polls, according to CFB.
Onida Coward Mayers, director of Voter Assistance for NYC Votes, which is working with CFB on the forums, said the events will serve a valuable purpose for voters.
“We often hear from voters that they don’t have enough information to participate in local elections. We’ve launched the Candidate Community Forums initiative to change that,” Coward Mayers said. “With local organizations at the helm, these forums will provide voters with an opportunity to meet the candidates vying for office, and to learn how they plan to address important issues in their communities.”
The organizations will receive a grant of $1,500.
Representatives of the organizations expressed excitement at the chance to present the candidates to their communities.
“Our organization has long recognized that voting is a fundamental right and is committed to enabling others to exercise this fundamental right in every election,” said Angela M. Williams, president of the East Kings County Alumnae Chapter, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. “The first public act of the Sorority was participation in the Women’s Suffrage March in 1913. This forum is a continuation of a legacy of social justice and service, providing residents of the 43rd District an opportunity to hear from local candidates about their plans for addressing community needs and concerns.”
“For the first time in 12 years, the 41st City Council district will have a new councilmember. Ocean Hill-Brownsville Coalition of Young Professionals is beyond excited to partner with NYC Votes and the Campaign Finance Board for this forum where residents will be able to interact directly with the candidates, have their questions and concerns addressed and gain a better understanding of why their participation in local elections is critical for the growth and support of our community,” said Andrea McCullough, chairperson of the Ocean Hill-Brownsville Coalition of Young Professionals.
For more information, visit CFB’s website at www.nyccfb.org.