News Column

Multicultural Coalition to Grill NYC Candidates

July 31, 2013

Staff Reports -- HispanicBusiness.com

jose calderon
José Calderón, president of the Hispanic Federation

A multicultural coalition will hold a mayoral town hall at Hunter College in New York City on Aug. 6. The coalition, which counts Hispanic and elder advocates among its members, wants New York to be a better place to live.

It also wants candidates to remember that nearly half the ballots in the upcoming election will be cast by Hispanic, black and Asian voters over 50.

Among the coalition's members are the Hispanic Federation, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) and the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP).

A media panel will grill the candidates, who include Sal Albanese, Adolfo Carrion, John A. Catsimatidis, Joe Lhota, John Liu, George McDonald, Erick Salgado and Bill Thompson. Spanish-language TV station WXTV will moderate and broadcast the town hall.

Issues the groups want the candidates to address include jobs and the economy, housing, and caring for aging parents and older children.

"Our aging community is facing a growing affordability crisis here in New York City, and it's critically important for the next mayor to prioritize solutions aimed at reducing poverty levels, expanding the social safety net and allowing our seniors to live with dignity and security," José Calderón, president of the Hispanic Federation, said in a statement.

Seniors of color are expected to wield a great deal of clout in the election, with 47 percent of ballots being cast by voters of color aged 50 or older, according to recent AARP analysis.

"With Latino and minority voters ages 50 and older comprising an increasingly significant portion of the electorate and population in New York City, it is no secret that these groups will determine the outcome of this year's mayoral race," said Julissa Gutierrez, a director at the NALEO Educational Fund. "This forum is a unique opportunity for the mayoral candidates to address the issues of most concern to Latino, minority and 50-and-older voters."

Asian Americans, who have enjoyed growth of 53 percent during the past 10 years, will throw their weight into the contest as well. "The 50-plus voters in our community have been paying attention to the mayoral campaigns and are expected to have a high turnout in this year's primary and general elections," said Cao K. O, executive director of the Asian American Federation.

Beth Finkel, New York state director for AARP, added: "The multicultural communities are no longer a minority, and are on the way to becoming a majority of the vote in (New York City). We want to be sure their issues are front and center for the candidates."

AARP, which claims 37 million members, does not endorse candidates or give money to campaigns or political parties.

The New York City Mayoral Town Hall takes place Aug. 6 at Hunter College, from 10 a.m.-noon.

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