Northeast Queens residents hoping to listen to candidates for local office will get their chance when the Bay Terrace Community Alliance hosts its Meet the Candidates Night forum on Oct. 23.
The alliance has invited not only candidates for U.S. and New York Senate and state Assembly seats to attend the event, but has also requested that the presidential and vice president candidates turn out.
The civic is currently the only one in northeast Queens to hold a public forum for candidates this political season. The East Bayside Homeowners Association will host a similar event, but for its members only, while it is currently unclear whether the Bayside Hills Civic Association’s forum will take place this year.
“Everybody is invited – we’re open to the public,” said Warren Schreiber, the association’s president. “They don’t all come, but we’ve invited all the candidates.”
An invite has been sent to President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney as well as Vice President Joe Biden and Paul Ryan, Romney’s running mate.
“They can send a surrogate,” Schreiber said. “Both the Obama and Romney camps know we’d settle for Michelle and Ann.”
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, and her opponent, Wendy Long, as well as U.S. Rep. Steve Israel, D-Hauppauge, and his challenger, Steven Labate, are also on the list.
Invites have also been extended to State Sen. Tony Avella, D-Bayside, his challenger, Joe Concannon, and state Assemblyman Edward Braunstein, D-Bayside, who is running unopposed.
The forum will begin at 7 p.m. at the Bay Terrace Jewish Center, which is located at 13-00 209th St. near the Cross Island Parkway Service Road in Bayside.
Former City Council member and state Assemblywoman Melinda Katz will kick off the forum by singing the National Anthem.
Schreiber said candidates would be allowed to give an opening and closing statement. In between, they’ll answer questions from the alliance’s members and the audience. The group never endorses any candidates.
In past years, the forum has drawn anywhere from 150 to more than 300 people.