Meet The Candidates

On Tuesday, Pace and the Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA) hosted their annual “Meet The Candidates” event. The OCA is a nonpartisan and nonprofit organization that encourages citizens to vote on the local, state and national level. The event was hosted in the Multipurpose room in the Kessel student center. Students, faculty and staff were given the opportunity to speak with local candidates. Two candidates who were there included Democratic New York State Senator and Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Republican Westchester District Attorney nominee Bruce Bendish.

Senator Stewart-Cousins urged those in attendance that local and state elections are just as, if not more, important than the national election. “I’m a democrat…and if the democrats gain back control of the senate the Senate Majority leader will be Chuck Schumer from New York…Chuck is in a race this year so if nobody votes for him to be the Senator in his home state, then he won’t be the policy leader, the majority leader of the USA,” Stewart-Cousins said. “So you have to understand why you vote, if we send the right person there, he doesn’t just have a voice for the entire country, but he’s our own hometown guy,” Stewart-Cousins said.

Stewart-Cousins mentioned that while issues like raising the minimum wage and paid leave are still being debated on the national level, New York on the state level has already passed laws pertaining to those issues. “Marriage equality for example, happened in New York, one of the leaders in making sure people can marry who they love. New York state legislature passed that. That’s why it matters, you may not meet the President…but the reality is the things that impact our day to day lives often happens on levels that are below the President’s level,” Stewart-Cousins said.

District Attorney nominee Bruce Bendish describes himself as a political outsider. His number one priority is solving the heroine epidemic problem in Westchester. His other major concerns and priorities are stopping gun violence, establishing a special Veteran’s Court and building a better relationship between the community and law enforcement. Bendish says, “A District Attorney’s job is to enforce the law. It’s quite an important job, while we are in a political situation and running for public office, we really arenot working in a political process, there’s no democratic way to enforce the law, no republican way to enforce the law. You can’t prosecute a person liberally, you can’t prosecute a person conservatively.”

Bendish continued by saying, “Lady Justice has a blindfold and there’s a reason she has a blindfold because everyone has to be treated fairly no matter their ethnic background, color, what their economic background is, you have to be fair.”