Last week, the Queens Democratic Party hosted its first in a series of “fireside chats” to help Queens residents get to know the people and policies of candidates
“One of our greatest responsibilities as citizens of this nation is our right to vote and decide who sits in the highest office in the land,” said Meeks. “Likewise, presidential candidates have the responsibility to understand the needs of voters, and I can think of no better place in America for that kind of engagement than right here in Queens County.”
The inaugural fireside chat was held last Wednesday in Shenker Hall at LaGuardia Community College with Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana. As of late May, Buttigeg is fifth in the race, polling at 6.2 percent behind frontrunner Joe Biden at 34.7%.
When Buttigieg arrived at the 250-person venue, he was greeted by moderator and Nyi anchor Cheryl Wills. He outlined some of his policies, such as a revision of the Supreme Court, which he says has become a highly politicized institution.
“Justices hang on and try to be strategic about when they retire or pass away to make sure it's during a favorable presidency,” he said. “And it's just gone off the rails.”
Instead, he proposed increasing the number of justices from 9 to 15, saying that five of the justices would have to be chosen unanimously by the other 10.
Buttigieg was asked about the Amazon situation that put Queens on front pages nationally.
“You can't buy jobs by taking a bad business decision and converting it into a good one,” he said. “Or else you're going to get the kind of employer that's not very sticky and seven years from now somebody will come along with another incentive package and pick them off and take them somewhere else.”
Willis also asked Buttigieg about Mayor Bill de Blasio’s presidential run.
“It’s not my place to comment on any of my competitors,” he said. “But what I will say it’s a good time for mayors to be stepping up. I know this is not conventional, you’re used to people who have been in Washington for a long time.”
After the event, several in the audience were supportive of Buttigieg.
“I think if he’s able to enact any of the policies that he’s recommending, I think a very high percentage of them will have an impact on residents of Queens and of New York City,” said Joe Pettibone, a resident of Astoria. “I think New York is ahead of the rest of the country in a lot of these areas, and I think he could help bring the rest of the country up to the level that we’ve achieved.”