Arab American Association Holds Council Debate

The three candidates for the 43rd District City Council seat, Justin Brannan, John Quaglione and Bob Capano were vetted before the Arab American Association Of New York on Oct. 24. (Photo By Kadia Goba via Kings County Politics)

Candidates Justin Brannan (Democratic Party), John Quaglione (Republican Party) and Bob Capano (Reform Party) faced off in a debate organized by the Arab American Association of New York (AAANY) and Fight Back Bay Ridge. The three candidates are vying for the 43rd City Council seat, which covers Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst and Bath Beach and is currently held by Vincent Gentile who is term-limited. Organizers wanted to bring up issues relevant to the large Arab-American and immigrant population that they felt other debates did not cover, reports Kings County Politics’ Kadia Goba.

The candidates discussed topics such as the “broken windows” policy, the Right to Know Act, police brutality, DACA, IDNYC and other concerns. When the issue of immigration emerged, some in the audience took issue with the responses.

AAANY made sure to probe candidate’s on the mayor’s threatened sanctuary city policies, but when candidates kept talking about criminal activity in relation to the city’s immigrant population it sparked some pushback. Rabyaah Althaibani, a Yemeni-American community activist was among the first to speak during the Q & A.

“Every time you talk about immigrants and people of color, it almost always has to do with national security or community security or issues about crime,” said Althaibani. “We are hard-working immigrants and you need to acknowledge that.”

Read about the candidates’ position, as expressed during the debate, in the full story at Kings County Politics.

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