With the election just a month away, a few local advocacy groups held a forum where candidates running for office in the state Assembly and the state Senate were able to weigh in on topics affecting families in our area.

"The purpose of the forum is really to allow voters to interact and hear from their candidates firsthand on issues that are facing issues and families," said Brigit Hurley, senior director of advocacy and program for The Children's Agenda.

One of the topics discussed was whether the candidates would be in favor of cutting programs for children as a result of economic loss from the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The state education funding is in jeopardy. There are some cuts that may happen, and we're really concerned those cuts are going to fall disproportionately," said Hurley.  

The candidates were also asked about their thoughts on poverty and racial health disparities. Dr. Celia McIntosh, health policy chair of the Rochester Black Nurses Association, says it's important for her organization to be a part of the discussion with the candidates. 

"A lot of our patients are disproportionately impacted by things like COVID and poverty and mental illness, so we thought based on that, that it's important to be of that initiative," said McIntosh.  

At the end of the day, The Children's Agenda, RocACTS, and the Rochester Black Nurses Association say it's important for local voters to be informed on what each candidate stands for this upcoming election.  

"They have a role in making changes to legislation that are impacting our community, and the first step of that is to be informed, to be registered to vote, to go vote for candidates that's going to be for the people," said McIntosh.