The two contenders for the vacant 46th District Assembly seat, Lucretia Regina-Potter (R) and Pam Harris (D), had at it at last night’s Bay Ridge Community Council debate – the final verbal battle before next Tuesday’s Nov. 3 special election.
“I have been out and active in Brooklyn for the past decade and have met with many, many people individually and discussing with them their needs, wishes, desires and problems,” said Regina-Potter in introducing herself.
“I have been out working with youth in my community and I’m extremely proud of my group, the Coney Island Generation Gap and they’re a dynamic group of individuals who are out making things happen. I’ve been doing the work and will continue to do the work because I have a grassroots approach,” countered Harris in her introductory remarks.
Community members lined up to ask questions as to how they will curb various quality of life issues such as crime, homelessness, illegal conversions and education.
One hot button issue that was brought up continuously was gun control and how to get illegal firearms off the streets of New York City as a whole.
“We have to look to community members and faith based organizations to get answers to help get these guns off the street,” said Harris.
Another option Harris suggested was more stringent measures to make sure those applying for a firearm are as strict as applying for a driver’s license. “Just like it’s a hassle and hard to receive a driver’s license, it should be just as hard to receive a gun license. It’s up to us to make sure they get the services they need because there are many people out here with guns who have mental illness,” she said.
While both agreed there needs to be stricter measures in obtaining guns, the bigger question was how they’re getting here in the first place.
“What is being done to stop the illegal guns from coming into our community?” said Regina-Potter. “There’s a lot of things going on that persecute legal gun owners. You have to go through miles of paper work, be interviewed and pay exorbitant fees for a permit. This poor officer and his family are suffering from senseless gun violence and nobody asked how this criminal was able to procure that gun to kill Officer Holder. How do they get these guns illegally when there are law abiding citizens who are responsible gun owners?”
Drugs are always a constant problem in any community and both candidates were passionate about steering the youth away from destructive behavior.
“We need to make sure our kids are getting the after-school knowledge and activities that they need in reference to what’s going on with drugs particularly the synthetic drugs sold in the stores. I understand what is needed in this community and I’m going to work hard and be extremely visible,” said Harris.
“A parent should never have to bury a child because of drugs. Many of these kids who turn to drugs feel like there’s’ a lack of opportunity so we need to get these kids more involved in taking up a vocation and be more involved in learning a trade and taking care of themselves. Drugs are a scourge in all of New York City not just our immediate community,” said Regina-Potter.
The district includes Coney Island, Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights with small slices of Brighton Beach and Bath Beach.