Rosie Mendez headshot

Rosie Mendez, who has represented City Council District 2, covering the East Village, part of the Lower East Side, Gramercy, Kip’s Bay and Murray Hill, since 2006, faces a primary challenge from Richard Del Rio, a senior pastor at Abounding Grace Church in the East Village. A strong voice for affordable housing and tenants’ rights, Mendez justly deserves re-election under any scenario.


Mendez easily outmatches her opponent in visibility, endorsements and campaign funds, Del Rio, meanwhile, is a leader in the fight against the Department of Education policy preventing religious congregations –– many of them anti-gay –– from renting Sunday space in public schools. The policy is currently under court challenge.

Since 2011, Del Rio’s Web site says, he has been “one of the champions of the Right to Worship movement,” which aims to boost the presence of such congregations citywide. That position is hostile to the interests of the L.G.B.T. community and out of step with his district, and, in our view, violates the U.S. Constitution’s mandate for separation of church and state.

For the record, Christine Quinn is the only Democratic mayoral candidate who opposes allowing church worship services in public schools.

Beyond this issue, however, Mendez, as she tells The Villager in this week’s issue, “has been there” for District 2 on the important issues over the past eight years. Del Rio, on the other hand, clearly seems to be a one-issue candidate, and his position on that issue is one we disagree with. The Villager endorses Mendez for re-election.

Click to read on the Villager's Website