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Mayoral debates begin in Delray Beach

Incumbent Shelly Petrolia takes on challenger Tracy Caruso
Posted at 9:49 PM, Jan 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-11 23:29:53-05

DELRAY BEACH, Fla.  — The current mayor of Delray Beach is Shelly Petrolia.

"You can use me in any way to protect your community," she said.

Her opponent in the upcoming mayoral race is Tracy Caruso.

"We want to get Delray Beach back on track. That's where I'm at," she said.

Both women went head-to-head in a debate Monday night set up by the "Set Neighborhood Alliance," a community that lies between Interstate 95 and Swinton Avenue.

The moderator was Reggie Cox.

"Petrolia has been up there for eight years and so her record is obviously at stake," he said. "Caruso is bringing in some fresh ideas, a fresh perspective."

They spoke about the Delray Beach Community Redevelopment Agency and the issue of gentrification.

"There's been a lot of work that's been done in our community, but the unfortunate part is we really haven't had a lot of work done in the set," Caruso said.

Petrolia points out her efforts during her tenure.

"By taking over the CRA, we stopped the flow of money going to the eastern sections of our town with one exception -- Osceola Park," she said.

They were asked to speak about the events on Capitol Hill in Washington.

"For me to sit and deny that racism exists, it would be a lie to myself. I know it does," Petrolia said.

Caruso was candid in her response.

"I think it's very clear that this was an example of the type of white advantage," she said. "I think that we can all see it we know that if it had been a different group, the outcome would have looked very different."

Cox said Monday's forum allows the alliance to find a partner that will help the neighborhood to become a healthier community.