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Candidates field questions at NAACP political forum

By JOLEEN FERRIS

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Candidates for office ranging from Utica Mayor, City Council, County Legislator and County Executive are taking part in a forum at the Loretto Utica Center Tuesday afternoon.

With a field of five candidates for Utica Mayor alone, the forum could go well into the evening if all five attend. The Utica-Oneida County Chapter of the NAACP organized the forum. The president says the large, by many accounts unprecedented field of five candidates bodes well for voters.

"The beauty about is it that you really have choices. The challenge of it is that now you really have to dig a little bit further, it's not as simple as candidate a or b. You have to do your research; you have to check your heart," says Dietra Harvey.

Executive Committee Member Patrick Johnson says inner city residents have the same concerns as people living elsewhere in the city. He adds that they really are looking for a candidate with whom they can identify.

"I think that basically people want to know who's going to show that they're in touch with the little guy, with the little people. I believe that's what the city of Utica is looking for in that respect and also somebody that is going to come across and can really genuinely represent all groups," says Johnson.

The forum is open to Loretto residents and the outside community. Some who were unable to make it e-mailed questions for the candidates. Those who attend will be able to ask the questions themselves; there are moderators, but they are leaving it to the audience to ask the questions.

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