Public News Service: What NYers Want to Ask Romney, Obama

Mark Scheerer, Public News Service-NY

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. – The second of three presidential debates will be held Oct. 16 at Hofstra University on Long Island. It’ll be “town meeting” style, with participants selected by the Gallup organization from a pool of undecided voters.

If you could attend the debate, a number of civic leaders were asked, what would you ask Barack Obama and/or Mitt Romney?

Michael Petit, president of the Every Child Matters Education Fund, says he would ask about children’s issues.

“What are their intentions on addressing the nation’s skyrocketing rate of childhood poverty, which is now at 22 percent and is the highest among the industrialized, rich countries?”


Patrick Young, director of legal services for the Central American Refugee Center, says he would ask President Obama what he would do to secure immigration reform in the face of opposition from Republicans. He’d ask Romney what he would do about the estimated 1.7 million undocumented students benefiting from Obama’s Deferred Action program.

“Is he going to try to deport them? Is he going to continue this program, or will he pledge to support the DREAM Act that will give them permanent relief?”

Juan Cartagena, president and general counsel at Latino Justice, says he would ask both candidates what specific new polices they would promote “to stop the endless cycle of violence that surrounds the drug trade.”

Martha Maffei, executive director of Sepa Mujer, a Latina rights organization based at Touro Law Center, says her question would be for both Obama and Romney…

“As president of the United States, what will you do specifically to protect immigrant victims of domestic violence and their children – and, more generally, to craft immigration policy that is sound and fair?”

It’s not these folks who will get to attend the town hall at Hofstra. Gallup will choose the participants from undecided voters – if there are any by mid-October.