APRIL 2002
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• The New York Immigration Coalition,

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• Alianza Dominicana

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• Asian Americans for Equality

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• Emerald Isle Immigration Center of New York

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Olga Mendez Says She Deserves To Be Re-elected Without The Primaries

From Noticias del Tiempo
March 6, 2002

Excerpts from two interviews.

Malin Falu, the straightforward commentator of Radio Guado, and a Black Puerto Rican, said she would run against Olga Mendez in the senate race for District 28, where El Barrio [Spanish Harlem] is situated.

Olga Mendez, also a Puerto Rican, has held the post for 24 years. Mendez said that given her long tenure in office, she deserves to be re-elected without having to run in the Democratic primaries in November.

Mendez called her opponent "an intelligent woman who has not been involved in the issues facing El Barrio although she has made a career in communications. "

"The people esteem her, [but] she has no political experience -- something I've clearly been exposed to throughout my trajectory [in office]."

Mendez is the first Puerto Rican woman and the only public official to serve 24 consecutive years in a U.S. State Legislature.

"Since I have made a little bit of history," she said, "I would not like to leave office because I lost a race." Mendez has been re-elected 11 consecutive terms.

Her opponent, Falu, has also worked for 24 years as commentator of programs that address social issues affecting Latinos.

"I told [the senator] over the air that if she retired and granted me the job, I would name a school in her name or offer her any homage she would like," Falu said and added that, "I mean no disrespect. It's important that she has a position in the community, but at the same time she has to open the doors to other leaders.

"Times are changing and I don't know if in two more years she [Mendez] will be able to do what she hasn't done in 24."

District 28 also encompasses parts of the South and West Bronx, Roosevelt Island, North Yorkville and Washington Heights.

Translated from Spanish by Angelica Medaglia.

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