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Florida's 20th Congressional District forum draws 11 candidates

Democratic candidates vying to occupy seat held by Alcee Hastings
Posted at 10:10 PM, Oct 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-14 23:48:13-04

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Eleven Democratic candidates for Florida's 20th Congressional District gathered Tuesday night to make their cases to be the next person to occupy the seat held by the late Alcee Hastings.

A Democratic candidates forum was hosted by the Urban League of Palm Beach and Broward counties. Each candidate is vying to fill the seat left vacant since Hastings' death in April.

Candidates were asked about the George Floyd Justice and Policing Act, a measure looking to combat misconduct, excessive force and racial bias.

"We must go out and let the country know how important this is in every district in every state," Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness said. "So, a public relations campaign to educate folks as to the damage that it is doing to our country is in order."

Priscilla Taylor had another idea.

"I would try to reintroduce it by bringing an amendment to have more national standards," she said.

Another focus in this forum was how to help historically Black colleges and universities.

"I would not only push for funding," state Rep. Bobby DuBose said. "I think that there should be a re-occurring budget line item in the federal budget for HBCUs."

State Rep. Omari Hardy went even further.

"I believe that college should be tuition-free, and one way to make sure the HBCUs get their money is to ensure no one attends an HBCU because they're concerned about cost," he said.

Immigration was also a hot topic after recent incidents involving Haitian migrants at the southern border.

"This is unjust right now," Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick said. "What we have going on, it's not even in line with the policies that the U.S. has in place."

Commissioner Barbara Sharief was blunter on the subject.

"We need to do better," she said. "We need to improve our policy on immigration."

In addition to the 11 candidates who were part of Thursday night's forum, two Republicans are also vying for the seat.

The primaries election is scheduled for Nov. 2. The general election will be held Jan. 11.