HARLEM, N.Y., June 13, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As the race heats up for the first open seat in New York's 13th Congressional District in 72 years, nine candidates seeking to succeed Representative Charles Rangel are squaring off in a debate tonight sponsored by AARP in partnership with WABC-TV, the Amsterdam News, el Diario, WXTV Univisión41, Univisión Radio's WADO-AM, and WBLS 107.5 FM.
With AARP promoting its "Take a Stand" campaign to urge federal candidates to commit to strengthening Social Security, eight Democrats and one Republican will weigh in on the future of Social Security, as well as affordable housing, the minimum wage, the need to support family caregivers and ways to help an aging population prepare for retirement.
The two-hour forum is being held at Riverside Church.
AARP is a non-partisan organization that neither contributes to nor endorses political candidates.
New York's 13th district is among the most diverse in the city and nation, with a population nearly half Hispanic, nearly one third African-American, about 13 percent white and 4 percent Asian American. Over half the district's Hispanics are of Dominican ancestry and nearly a quarter of Puerto Rican heritage.
WABC-TV's Sandra Bookman, Merijoel Duran of WXTV Univisión41 and WBLS's Bob Slade will moderate, with questions – including audience submissions - posed by Josh Barker of the Amsterdam News and Ana Nieto of El Diario. Univisión Radio's WADO-AM is also partnering for the event.
WBLS will livestream the debate and the audio will also be available afterwards at http://www.wbls.com/live.
"The 50+ accounted for over 60 percent of the vote in the last race for governor, and they made up the single biggest voting bloc in the last election for Mayor. So it stands to reason that the 50+ will determine the outcome of this race," AARP New York State Director Beth Finkel said in kicking off the event.
"They want to hear what the candidates will do about Social Security, how to keep our neighborhoods livable and affordable amid changing demographics, how to care for our aging citizens – and for those who take care of them, our family caregivers – and more."
"We are very excited to be part of this initiative," said Carmen Villavicencio, Executive Editor of El Diario, the largest Hispanic Publication in the United States. "This is a very important moment for our Latino Community in District 13 and we want all of their voices to be heard by the candidates. We hope that giving the constituents the chance to know each candidate can help them decide who is the best one that deserves their votes."
Over a third of voting-age District 13 residents are 50 and above, and nearly 50,000 are AARP members. The debate is part of AARP's year-old effort to bring its national and state-level advocacy of issues important to the 50+ to the local level in New York City.
Also last year, AARP launched a livability index that ranks every zip code in the nation on a variety of factors that impact quality of life on a neighborhood level.
Candidates participating in the debate are former Ambassador Suzan Johnson Cook, State Senator Adriano Espaillat, stay-at-home-dad Mike Gallagher, State Assembly Member Guillermo Linares, former State Assembly Member Adam Clayton Powell IV, publisher and chess player Sam Sloan, former Democratic National Committee Political Director Clyde Williams and State Assembly Member Keith Wright – all of whom are competing in the June 28 Democratic primary for their party's nomination for the November general election, and the lone Republican, attorney Tony Evans.
Representative Rangel, who is retiring at the end of the year, has represented the district since 1971 following his 1970 primary victory over long-time incumbent Adam Clayton Powell Jr. – who was first elected to the seat the last time it was open in 1944.
The district includes Central Harlem, East Harlem, Manhattanville, Morningside Heights, Hamilton Heights, Hudson Heights, Washington Heights, Inwood and Marble Hill in Manhattan, and the Bronx communities of Kingsbridge, Norwood, Bedford Park, Fordham, and University Heights.
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SOURCE AARP New York