by Gloria T. Caoile
A GROUP of Filipino American voters heard directly from candidates on Monday, October 12, 2020. Taking part in a virtual candidates’ forum, they were able to listen to candidates for congressional seats, State Senate, State Assembly, and County Commission and judge positions. The event was hosted by the Filipino American Political Organization With Equal Representations (Fil Am POWER).
A total of 37 candidates addressed Fil Am voters via Zoom. The group included two Congressional Candidates, Congresswoman Dina Titus of District 1 and Congresswoman Susie Lee of District 3. Each took their two-minute time allotment to speak about their platform issues, including health care, education, and unemployment. Both acknowledged the voting power of the Fil Am community and praised our Fil Am frontliners, who are working round the clock in this pandemic.
Voter education and engagement were the major goals of the event. “A voter’s role in democracy is not just to vote, but to make informed decisions,” says Amie Belmonte, President of Fil Am POWER. “One of the best ways to do that is to listen directly to candidates and ask questions.”
In a presidential election year, down-ballot races can be overlooked. However, there are important decisions to be made at every level of government. “Voters owe it to themselves and their communities to learn about the candidates running and vote for those who will best represent them,” says Sonny Vinuya Board Member, Fil Am POWER.
“Elected officials are public servants; by definition, they serve the public,” adds Caesar Almase. “Listening to them and asking questions helps ensure that they will serve their constituents well.”
“Our vote is our voice, so it is up to us to make sure we choose candidates who will speak on our behalf and act in our best interest,” says Bernie Benito, Board Member Fil Am Power.