Debate for City Council 44th District: Experience, Compassion, and “I don’t wear a suit”.

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The three candidates for city council took the stage Sunday evening to make their case to voters.

The newspaper Hamodia hosted the debate at Beth Jacob in Boro Park and the papers political editor Yochonon Donn moderated verbal battle that took place in Beth Jacob of Boro Park’s Golden Hall just days before what is shaping up to be Boro Park’s most exciting political race yet.

The three candidates are running to replace the 44th district’s popular City Council Member David Greenfield (D-Boro Park, Bensonhurst, Flatbush). Greenfield is resigning to head the Met Council on Jewish Poverty.

Greenfield endorsed Kalman Yeger, and handed him the Democratic and Conservative party lines. Heshy Tischler is running on the School Choice party line and Yoni Hikind formed his own party, the Our Neighborhood party.

A near full audience braved the rain to attend the debate. Photo by Stephen Witt

Yeger presented himself as the candidate with experience and know-how, having been in politics since he was a teenager. He pledged to build on the accomplishments of Greenfield. He appeared to be the most well versed on the inner workings of the issues and the political steps necessary to address them.

Hikind, while admitting to not being an expert, spoke about his compassion, his heart and his campaign centered around the individual. He said he had both the know how and character to best represent the district. He spoke about how his experience as a social worker will help him listen and understand the concerns of each constituent. He is the son of legendary Assemblymember Dov Hikind.

And Tischler took off his jacket and pronounced himself ready to roll up his sleeves and fight for the people. “This is not a protest vote“ he proclaimed. “Heshy Tischler, November 7th!”

Candidates were asked about parking, hate crimes and Yeshiva tuition among other important issues. The debate quickly turned heated and the audience was repeatedly admonished not to applaud or heckle. Young members in the crowd enthusiastically cheered for Hikind. However others in the audience seemed taken by Yeger’s experience. Tischler provided comic relief and got the most laughs.

When asked about the average price of Yeshiva tuition Tischler said $18,000 “after deductions, with me crying and my wife hollering”.

To help alleviate problems with parking, Hikind put forth his idea for smart street cleaners. Tischler responded that he’s not going to vacuum the streets.

On the question of how often candidates use public transportation Yeger said a few times a week and produced a metro card from his pocket.

In a moment of unity candidates unanimously agreed that government should not dictate Yeshiva curricula.

Following the debate candidates shook hands and mingled with the crowd, urging people to go out and vote on November 7th. This race promises to be a tight one.

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