Out of the 11 Democratic candidates vying to be the next representative of Florida’s 20th Congressional District, 10 of them participated in a public forum Thursday Night.
After the death of former U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., in April, the seat has since been vacant and now these Democratic candidates are competing to fill the seat, WFLX reported.
The forum was hosted by the Urban League of Palm Beach and Broward counties ahead of the Nov. 2 primary election.
Here are the candidates: State Sen. Perry Thurston, who represents portions of Broward County; Priscilla Taylor, a former state legislator and Palm Beach County commissioner; Broward County Commissioner Barbera Sharief, who previously served as the county’s first Black mayor; Emmanuel Morel, the former president of the Democratic Progressive Caucus of Palm Beach County; Phil Jackson, a retired U.S. Navy chief petty officer; Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness, who Hastings once endorsed; state Rep. Omari Hardy, from West Palm Beach; state Rep. Bobby DuBose, the Florida House minority leader; Elvin Dowling, a West Palm Beach native and former aide to Hastings, and Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, the CEO of Trinity Health Care Services.
Candidates Express Stand On Certain Issues
According to WPTV, during the forum, candidates were asked regarding the George Floyd Justice and Policing Act — a measure that seeks to combat racial bias, misconduct and excessive use of force.
Comm. Dale V.C. Holness said that each district in the state must know the importance of the act and that a public relations campaign is in order to educate constituents of the damages that misconduct, excessive force, and racial bias do to the country.
Another issue that was discussed during the forum is how to help historically black colleges and universities.
State Representative Bobby Dubose said that aside from funding, there should be a re-occurring budget line item in the federal budget for the HBCUs.
State representative Omari Hardy also shared his stand saying that he believes college should be tuition-free. “One way to make sure the HBCU’s get their money is to ensure no one attends an HBCU’s because they’re concerned about cost,” he was quoted as saying by WPTV.
Another issue discussed during the forum was that of immigration which involved Haitian migrants at the U.S. border.
Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick stated that the situation is “unjust” and that it is not even in line with the country’s policies. Commissioner Barbara Sharief echoed Cherfilus-McCormick and said that there’s a need for improvement in terms of the country’s policy on immigration.
Primaries Set On Nov. 2
Aside from the 11 Democratic candidates, two republicans also want the seat for Florida’s 20th Congressional District. A primary election is set for Nov. 2 while the general election is scheduled for Jan. 11.