groups watch debate
GLENN BLAIN, THE JOURNAL NEWS
(Original publication: October 14, 2004)
VERNON — As a supporter of President Bush, Cicely Greaves-Vega
expected to be in the minority at the debate-watching party
she attended last night. But that was nothing new.
Greaves-Vega is president of the Black Republicans of Westchester
and is often outnumbered.
"It happens a lot, but that's fine," she quipped.
"I don't mind being part of a true minority."
Greaves-Vega was among about two dozen people who attended
the debate party organized by the African American Chamber
of Commerce of Westchester and Rockland Counties and co-sponsored
by the Black Democrats of Westchester and the Black Republicans
most polls show that black voters overwhelmingly support Sen.
John Kerry, the party at the First Presbyterian Church was
intended to provide a bipartisan forum for people to hear
what both presidential candidates had to offer and to show
that blacks are open to "whoever can deliver for the
minority business community," said chamber President
Last night's debate was the third and final contest between
Bush and Kerry before Election Day. Unlike the previous two,
however, this debate was focused entirely on domestic and
economic issues, which was of special importance to minority
business owners, Douglas said.
To get things started, Mount Vernon Mayor Ernest Davis, a
Democrat, and Charles Smith, area vice president of the Black
Republican Council, spoke to the audience on behalf of their
candidates. Then the audience settled in for the debate.
While the party was billed as bipartisan, the Kerry contingent
seemed, if not larger, much louder than their Bush counterparts.
Several Bush statements were met with giggles and winces on
the part of many in the audience.
"Every time I hear the president speak, I wonder how
he got into office in the first place," said Monica Johnson,
33, owner of a communications and graphic design business
in White Plains.
"The president is extremely flustered," said Derek
Keno, 37, a White Plains native who now lives in Newburgh,
N.Y. "He's yelling again, like he did in the first debate."
Keno said he's a Republican but will likely vote for Kerry
because Bush is too conservative. He added that "conservative
doesn't mean fiscal conservative anymore, it means social
Other Republicans in the audience argued, however, that Bush
offered a strong message that should resonate with minorities
and their families.
"A black person trying to provide for his family lives
by a conservative view: You go out, work hard and make something
of yourself," said Denny London, a builder from Mount
Vernon and a Republican.