June 3, 2021 By Michael Dorgan
Western Queens voters will get a chance on Saturday to meet with many of the city council candidates who are vying to represent them.
A family-themed meet-and-greet event will take place outdoors in the Dutch Kills section of Long Island City from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Twelve of the 15 Democratic candidates running to represent the 26th Council District are set to attend. A Republican candidate has also confirmed his attendance.
Voters will be able to mingle and casually chat with candidates on a section of roadway along 39th Avenue—between 28th Street and 29th Street— that will be blocked off.
The candidates are running for the seat that is currently represented by the term-limited Jimmy Van Bramer, which covers Sunnyside, Woodside, Long Island City and parts of Astoria.
The event is being organized by a number of local civic groups—LIC Relief, the Gantry Parent Association, the Court Square Civic Association and the Dutch Kills Civic Association.
The organizers say they want to provide a relaxed setting where constituents can get to know the candidates and learn about their policies ahead of the primary elections which will take place on June 22. Voters will be able to voice their concerns and ask questions in a friendly manner.
Kelly Craig, who co-founded LIC Relief last year to help those in need during the pandemic, said the event is a fun way to meet the candidates in person as the city begins to reopen.
“It will be a great way to connect coming off of a year of Zoom-based interviews and meetups – I think we are all feeling a little Zoom fatigue,” Craig said.
Craig said the free event will also give the candidates an opportunity to meet various members of the civic groups and learn about what the organizations do.
The event will feature an outdoor cookout where grilled food like hamburgers and hot dogs will be offered free of charge. The operators of DK PubLIC, an upcoming new bar located at 38-40 29th St., will provide the food items. Teazzi Tea Shop will also offer free bubble tea.
Craig said that there will be a range of children’s games and activities taking place throughout the day to keep kids entertained.
In addition to the meet-and-greet, each candidate will be interviewed privately inside DK PubLIC where they will be asked the same four questions. The interviews will be recorded.
The questions will not be revealed to candidates ahead of the interview and the videos will be released closer to primary election day.
“Our organizations put together quick and concise questions which we feel cover some of the most pressing issues that constituents are facing,” Craig said.
“The interviews will help constituents educate themselves about the candidates and what they stand for.”
The following candidates have confirmed their attendance with the organizers:
Amit Bagga, Jonathan Bailey, Julia Forman, Marvin Jeffcoat (Republican), Denise Keehan-Smith, Badrun Khan, Heajin (Hailie) Kim, Jesse Laymon, Sultan Maruf, Brent O’Leary, Steven Raga, Julie Won, Ebony Young.
The children’s activities will be hosted by Snapology, Art Strong NYC, ARTbeat5 New York and Sharp Lense.
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