Becker Students at Mayoral Debate

Published on Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

Becker College students were encouraged to attend a Worcester Mayoral Candidates Forum on Monday, October 26, presented by Centro Las Americas. The college, a sponsor of the event, provided shuttle transportation for students from its Sever Street campus to All Saints Church at 10 Irving Street.

Community members, Dynamy students, City Council candidate Mary Keefe, and City Councilor Gary Rosen were also in the audience.

Juan Gomez, executive director of Centro Las Americas, and candidate Emmanuel Tsitslianos took time to speak to the Becker group before the debate began.

Gomez introduced the candidates, current Mayor, Konstantina Lukes, Joseph O’Brien, Katherine Toomey, and Tsitslianos, and panel members Nestor Chevalier, president of Casa Cultural Dominicana; Ivan Gois, president & CEO of Gois Broadcasting-Power 1310; Dr. Karol Hardy-Fanta, lecturer and professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts, Boston; Giovana Negreti, executive director of OISTE, a Latino state-wide political action committee; Ron Scott, workforce development director at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Business Empowerment Center; and Robert Thomas, president & CEO of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Business Empowerment Center.

The candidates were grilled regarding their stances on the perceived lack of minority representation on the Worcester City Council and opportunities for small businesses and young people.

Candidate Tsitslianos emphasized his 20 years as a Worcester resident and global experience in urban renewal. Candidate Toomey pointed to her connection to young people, from her beginnings as a teacher in Boston schools to her presence on Twitter and facebook.

Among the Becker students in attendance were sophomore business management major Terrance Favors of Boston, freshman exercise science major Justin Bailey of Bloomfield, Conn., freshman nursing major Natalie Colon of Boston, and junior criminal justice major Ricky Clark of New Britain, Conn. All the students live on campus.

The forum was broadcast, with limited Spanish translation, by Power 1310 AM Radio. The Martin Luther King Jr. Business Empowerment Center, the Worcester Chapter of the ACLU, Casa Cultural Dominicana, and Latino USA PAC were also sponsors.