LOS ANGELES – The Armenian National Committee of America–Western Region HyeVotes initiative hosted a candidate forum on Wednesday, June 7 for the Los Angeles City Council District 6 special election.
The panel, which was attended by more than 100 community activists and constituents, was held at the Vatican Banquet Hall in Van Nuys and featured the two candidates vying for office in a run-off election on June 27: Marisa Alcaraz, who is Deputy Chief of Staff for L.A. City Councilmember Curren Price, and Imelda Padilla, a community organizer who advocates for community development in the San Fernando Valley.
LA City Council District 6 is a diverse and dynamic area in the San Fernando Valley that includes the neighborhoods of Arleta, Lake Balboa, Panorama City, and portions of Van Nuys and Sun Valley.
District 6 has been without representation in City Council since October 2022, when former council president Nury Martinez resigned following the leaked audio recordings of L.A. City Council in late 2022. The vacancy triggered a special election that took place on April 4 with seven candidates competing for the seat. Alcaraz and Padilla garnered the highest percentages of votes (21.1 percent and 25.7 percent, respectively). With neither candidate surpassing the majority threshold, a special runoff election was set for June 27, 2023.
Prior to scheduling the Candidate Forum, ANCA-Western Region sent candidate questionnaires to the seven individuals who were running for the Los Angeles City Council District 6. Following the submission of the local candidate questionnaires, the ANCA- Western Region invited the two runoff candidates, Ms. Alcaraz and Ms. Padilla, to meet with the ANCA Western Region Board to discuss their candidacy and issues of concern.
The Candidate Forum was jointly moderated by ANCA-Western Region Government Affairs Director Ruben Karapetian and Editor-in-Chief of Asbarez, Ara Khachatourian.
The candidates were asked questions about their positions on issues of importance to the constituents of CD6, which includes a growing population of Armenian-Americans, such as homelessness and housing, community safety, economic development, and support for small businesses.
Moreover, the candidates also addressed their positions on a host of issues specific to the Armenian-American community, including Artsakh’s right to self-determination, promotion of Armenian culture, community visibility, and representation, and ensuring the safety of the Armenian-American community in light of the unprecedented rise of Armenophobic hate crimes which have troubled the community in recent years.
“The hate crimes are just unacceptable, period [….] These kinds of things cannot be tolerated. We have to prosecute them to the full extent of the law,” said Candidate Alacaraz when prompted with a question regarding the recent string of hate crimes and incidents aimed at the Armenian-American community and its institutions.
Candidate Padilla responded to the same question, stating “If I am granted the opportunity to be your city council person, not only will I fight against the hate crimes that happen in your community, but you can see me as an ally that is willing to use my bully pulpit […] to support you.”
“Armenian-Americans are a growing constituency base here in CD6, and we sought to give the community an opportunity to meet the candidates and hear about issues that concern them both as Armenian-Americans and as constituents in the district,” said Nora Hovsepian, Esq., Chair of the ANCA-WR.
“Armenian-Americans share common concerns with their neighbors in CD6, but we also experience unique challenges when it comes to the crisis our people are facing as a nation here and in our homeland. Our aim as a grassroots public affairs organization is to ensure that those elected to represent our communities are aware of these issues and are vocal about them, on all levels of government. We are grateful that the two candidates took the time to participate in our Candidate Forum and hear from our community, and we look forward to working closely in the future both with the candidate who prevails as the next City Councilmember, as well as maintaining our constructive relationship with both candidates regardless of the election outcome,” she concluded.
Registered voters in CD6 will have already received their mail-in ballots, which must be postmarked no later than June 27, or hand delivered to a polling station by 8 p.m. on June 27. Voters who would prefer to cast their ballots in person may do so on June 27. Armenian-American voters are encouraged to make their collective voice heard by exercising their right to vote and participating in the civic process. For more voter information visit HyeVotes.org.
Pursuant to the organization’s long-standing endorsement protocols, the ANCA Western Region Board is the sole entity authorized to issue official endorsements in city-wide Los Angeles races. Any conflicting endorsement announcements using the organization’s name are unauthorized. The ANCA Western Region has not endorsed any individual candidate in the Los Angeles City Council District 6 race.
The HyeVotes initiative is the only Armenian-American campaign dedicated to educating community members about elections, empowering community members to cast their ballots, and ensuring that Armenian-Americans are represented and accommodated in all aspects of civic engagement.
The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region is the largest and most influential Armenian-American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.