Women of El Barrio’s Candidate DebateBy Jose B. Rivera
East Harlem - September 5, 2002. The Women of El Barrio held their first candidate’s debate at Junior High School 117 between Second and Third Avenues on 109th Street. Although all candidates were invited, not all chose to attend, citing scheduling problems.
John Ruiz, the rapping fireman, Carmen Quinones, a Democratic District Leader, and William Gerena, a local community activist squared off in their quest to become the next Assemblyman. They were very cordial and polite to each other.
The event was moderated by Melissa Mark-Viverito, one of the Women of El Barrio. Melissa asked the candidates questions previously collected from the audience. Each candidate had 5 minutes to address a range of questions from Women’s Rights, Housing, Economic Development and their views on public access for the handicapped among the many asked.
Democratic District Leader Felix Rosado fielded questions on the State Senate side of the race. Felix was also polite and cordial to everyone . It is interesting that two of the candidates, Felix Rosado and William Gerena were candidates from third Parties. Gerena is running under the banner of the for the Green Party.
Audience participation was excellent. It’s is always great to see those at a candidate’s debate well engaged in the political process. And the numbers of those who attended the event was good. Congrats to the Women of El Barrio for getting organizing this event this year. I am sure it will not be the only one, and we will be hearing more from the Women of El Barrio in the coming months.