GreenRoots, under the leadership of Executive Director Roseann Bongiovanni and Associate Executive Director Marie Belen Power, hosted a candidates forum on Aug. 16.
The four candidates for state representatives seeking election in the Sept. 1 Democratic Primary – State Rep. Dan Ryan and Chelsea Councillor-at-Large Damali Vidot in the Second Suffolk District and Revere Councillor-at-Large Jessica Giannino and Joe Gravellese in the Sixteenth Suffolk District, participated in the forum that was broadcast live on Zoom and aired later on the GreenRoots Facebook page.
Bongiovanni, a former Chelsea councillor-at-large, served as the moderator for the forum. Belen Power helped set up the event and monitor all attendees coming in to and leaving the Zoom broadcast.
The candidates each delivered opening statements, with Vidot choosing to deliver her remarks in Spanish.
“Damali offered a little twist by doing her remarks in Spanish and then having them translated into English,” said Bongiovanni.
All responses during the forum were translated into Spanish by a GreenRoots representative.
Following the candidates’ open statements, Bongiovanni ask questions to the candidates in the topics of environment, housing, and public health.
Bongiovanni felt the candidates articulated their messages well and displayed their knowledge of the issues affecting Chelsea residents.
“The candidates were very well prepared and articulate and answered some pretty tough questions,” said Bongiovanni.
More than 50 people participated in the forum on Zoom and many more residents tuned it to view the forum later on Facebook and in the organization’s email newsletters.
“We think it was quite a success,” said Bongiovanni. “I think the voters got a really good sense of the candidates’ thoughts on the issues.”
GreenRoots has hosted several candidates’ forums in the past, but this was the organization’s first effort on Zoom.
“We did have [virtual] conversations with Sen. Ed Markey and Congressman Joe Kennedy, but they each spoke individually, but they didn’t want to be on air at the same time,” related Bongiovanni. “So this is the first time that we had a candidates’ forum with candidates from two separate districts doing this completely virtually.”
GreenRoots is a community-based organization dedicated to improving and enhancing the urban environment and public health in Chelsea and surrounding communities.