The five candidates left Marjorie Velazquez, John Doyle, Mark Gjonaj, Egidio Sementilli, and John Cerini took part in this forum held at the Sanz located at 815 Allerton Avenue by the merchants Association.
Gene De Francis the Director of the Allerton Avenue Merchants Association moderated this forum. He described how this forum would go. There would be opening statements, seven different questions on various topics, a lightning round, and then closing statements. He announced the four remaining Democratic candidates, one Republican candidate, and allowed Mr. Victor Ortiz one of the two Democratic candidates who were thrown off the ballot to speak. Mr. Ortiz was very cordial in his comments, saying that he and Mr. Alex Gomez will endorse the candidate they fell will best represent the district.
Mr. Ortiz delivering his comments.
Candidate Marjorie Velazquez spoke of her roots in the community, and her work with Direct Television in other countries.
Candidate John Doyle spoke of his community activism, and that he is an independent candidate not tied to any politicalorganization
Candidate Mark Gjonaj spoke of his experience as a state legislator, and that his experience makes him the best candidate.
Candidate John Cerini informed the audience that he is running on the Republican line, is a small business owner, and grew up ad has lived in the district he whole life.
Candidate Egidio Sementelli said that he was the oldest candidate, he will not not beholding to anyone but the voters who elect him.
As the forum went on answers to questions were very safe, and the questions had to be repeated again several times as Mr. Ortiz yelled out that the candidates were not answering the questions. There was o attack on any candidate by name until the closing statements when Assemblyman Gjonaj was attacked by candidate Sementilli for running with current Mayor Bill de Blasio who was part of the Gjonaj petition. Since he was attacked by name candidate Gjonaj was able to respond by saying that he will vote for whomever he wants. During the lightning round when the candidates were asked who will be voting for the current mayor no hands went up.
Once again candidate Sementelli had the best line when he called Mayor Bill de Blasio a communist which drew cheers from the audience, and positive reactions from the other candidate.
As for just who won this forum. My answer would be all five candidates were very safe with their answers, did not attack any other candidate by name, and were very controlled in their remarks, that is except for candidate Sementelli.
Candidate Sementelli was the most flamboyant in his answers, but I would have to say that candidate John Cerini would be the winner with his sense of community life in the district the best. Candidate and Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj came off as the machine candidate, candidates John Doyle and Marjorie Velazquez need to step up their answers as I was told both sounded weak in their answers.
However this photo of a voter holding up literature from the five candidates and Mr. Ortiz could sum it up well.