Is Gina being used for political gain? - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Is Gina being used for political gain?

Gina DeJesus with Cleveland Council Candidate Janet Garcia. Gina DeJesus with Cleveland Council Candidate Janet Garcia.
Gina DeJesus riding in Janet Garcia's car in the Puerto Rican Day Parade. Gina DeJesus riding in Janet Garcia's car in the Puerto Rican Day Parade.

Like a rockstar, Gina DeJesus was in the parade for the Puerto Rican festival.

Crowds cheering wildly for the young woman, who was robbed of almost a decade of her life but managed to make it out of kidnapper Ariel Castro's dungeon.

The event that should have been celebrated as Gina's official first appearance in the Cleveland community has many whispering about her ride in the car of Cleveland Council Candidate Janet Garcia.

This came after what we showed you on Friday, Gina in photos on Garcia's Facebook page.

Is this a candidate cashing in on a victim's years of abuse? Janet Garcia is running against Councilman Brian Cummins.

He even helped start The Courage Fund, raising money for all of Castro's victims.

At one point Gina was seen wearing a sticker here for a candidate for mayor, too.

Cummins had this to say to 19 Action News Reporter Ed Gallek, "That's a touchy subject. That to me is outrageous that any candidate would use this family. I'm most concerned about the voters."

Gina's dad drove the car with her mom in the front seat.

They spoke at the festival, calling for more to be done to find missing children.

Was it goodwill or a campaign stunt?

Brian Kazy also running for the same seat said, "Sad, but if Janet Garcia feels the need to use her that is shameful. I wish the DeJesus family well in the future."

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