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Representative Charles Rangel and State Senator Adriano Espaillat Take the Stage for a Debate

by Kris Venezia
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Rep. Rangel

Azi Paybarah, Flickr 

With Primary Upcoming, Rangel and Espaillat Locked in a Close Race.

A recent Siena College/New York Times poll showed 84-year old Representative Charles Rangel with a narrow lead over state Senator Adriano Espaillat. 

The two are fighting for the 13th Congressional District which encompasses parts of Upper Manhattan and the western Bronx. At a debate Wednesday night at Lehman College in the Bronx, Espaillat focused much of his discussion on improving housing conditions and immigration reform in the predominantly Latino district. 

He said Congress needs someone who understands the issues immigrants face. 

"I'm an immigrant myself," Espaillat said. "I will fight as hard as I can to make sure that immigration reform finally gets here to the neighborhoods where it's needed."

Representative Charles Rangel took a swipe at Espaillat with his response on immigration reform. 

"I don't think this is the time for trainees, no matter how passionate they are, to be going to the United States House of Representatives," Rangel said. "We're talking about immigration, clearly, it has to be someone familiar with the laws."

Rangel is trying to serve in Congress for a 23rd term. State Sen. Espaillat used age and experience against Rangel, and said he would bring a fresh perspective to Washington.

"I'm running on my record," Espaillat said. "I'm running for change, to break with the past, to look towards the future."

If elected, Espaillat would be the first Dominican-born member of Congress. The primary will be held on June 24, it also features Bronx activist Yolanda Garcia and Harlem minister Michael Walrond Jr. 

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