Both candidates seeking the vacant Ninth Congressional District seat in the Sept. 13 special election have been invited to take part in a debate sponsored by the Times Newsweekly and the Juniper Park Civic Association (JPCA) later this month.
As announced, the forum between Assemblyman David Weprin, the Democratic nominee, and Robert Turner, the Republican choice, will take place on Monday night, Aug. 29, beginning at 7:30 p.m. at Bel Mondo Restaurant, located at 79-32 Metropolitan Ave. in Middle Village. All are welcome to attend.
Representatives of Turner and Weprin have confirmed in writing to the Times Newsweekly that the candidates will be in attendance and taking part in the debate.
Questions will be asked of both candidates by a panel including Times reporters and JPCA members.
A resident of Holliswood, Weprin formerly served two terms in the City Council and unsuccessfully ran for city comptroller in 2009. Serving his first term in the Assembly, the seat he currently holds was previously held by his brother Mark Weprin, who succeeded him in the City Council in 2010; and their late father, Saul Weprin, who was Assembly Speaker at the time of his death in 1994.
Turner, who resides in Breezy Point, is a retired advertising and television executive who lost to then- Rep. Anthony Weiner in last November's general election, gaining 40 percent of the vote.
Weiner resigned in June after admitting to sending provocative photos of himself to women he associated with on the Internet. Thereafter, Gov. Andrew Cuomo proclaimed a special election to fill the seat on Tuesday, Sept. 13, which is the also the date of primary elections across the state.
The Ninth Congressional District consists of neighborhoods in southern Brooklyn and central Queens, including areas of Ridgewood, Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village, Forest Hills, Rego Park, Kew Gardens, Kew Gardens Hills, Electchester, Fresh Meadows, Oakland Gardens, southern Bayside, Woodas haven, Richmond Hill, Ozone Park, Howard Beach, Broad Channel and the Rockaways west of the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge.
Once the results of the special election have been certified, the winner will be sworn in as the new Member of Congress for the Ninth District. The future of the district as it is currently constituted, however, remains up in the air, as it may be phased out during the upcoming redistricting process.
New York State is losing two Congressional seats as a result of the 2010 Census count. It is believed that one seat will be subtracted upstate and the other will be eliminated in either New York City or Long Island.
For more information on the Aug. 29 debate, call the Times at 1-718- 821-7500 or the JPCA at 1-718-651- 5865.
To register to vote or for further information on voting, call the city Board of Elections at 1-212-VOTENYC or visit www.vote.nyc.ny.us.