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Golden, Gounardes debate for immigrants’ and Asian voters’ support

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They’re both men of all people.

Eight-term incumbent state Sen. Marty Golden (R–Bay Ridge) and Democratic challenger Andrew Gounardes each fought to frame themselves as the better representative for the 22nd Senate district’s immigrant and Asian communities in an Oct. 30 debate sponsored by the United Chinese Association of Brooklyn and six other community-based organizations.

The debate — which was moderated by Bklyner politics reporter Kadia Goba and held at the Dyker Heights Adult Daycare Center at 11th Avenue and 66th Street — mostly centered around how the candidates would fight for members of the district’s Asian population.

Both candidates touted their support for the specialized high school admission test — which Mayor DeBlasio has proposed to scrap, prompting outrage from Asian students, who currently make up 62 percent of students at the elite schools, according to Chalkbeat. But the candidates battled to convince the audience that they fought for specialized high schools first.

Golden said he was on the front lines of the fight against the mayor’s plan as soon as Hizzoner announced it in June, and that it was only later that other pols followed suit.

“SHSAT, everybody’s screaming and yelling, who’s the first guy out there? Sen. Golden, saying, ‘we can’t do that,’ and then all of a sudden [everyone else] came out of the woodwork,” said Golden, referring to himself in the third person.

Gounardes pointed to his recent call to create a new specialized high school in the district — which currently does not have any — and added that Golden only added that idea to his campaign after he heard it from Gounardes.

“I was the first person in Southern Brooklyn to call for building another specialized high school in our community, in our neighborho­od,” Gounardes said. “I’m glad to see that Marty Golden finally agrees with me that we need to build more specialized schools in Southern Brooklyn.”

And the candidates had different ideas about how to tackle hate crimes and discrimination against the Asian community.

Golden said law-and-order policies could solve the problem.

“We need to get more bills passed to enhance penalties, and we have more cops on the street to put these people where they belong — in jail,” he said.

Gounardes said hate crimes are a special case, and a growing problem — and he blamed President Trump, whom Golden supports, for promoting hateful rhetoric against immigrants.

“We need to be treating these as the hate crimes that they are, but it’s more than that — we also have to stop the poison that is coming out of the White House, because this hate is being unleashed by a poisonous president who hates immigrants — a president who Marty Golden supports, and that is not okay,” he said.

The candidates will face off on Nov. 6 to represent the district that includes Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Marine Park, Gerritsen Beach, Gravesend, and parts of Sheepshead Bay, Borough Park, and Midwood.

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at jmcshane@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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