Candidates express broad support for Joe Biden’s program in CD 20 Forum Part 2

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Several Democratic candidates in the race for Florida’s 20th Congressional District have scrambled to exploit the president Joe biden base on Wednesday evening during the second part of a virtual candidates’ forum.

Four of the six attendees expressed strong support for Biden’s Build Back Better program. While the first group of candidates for debate on Wednesday evening widely presented themselves as the legitimate successor to the former representative of the United States. Alcee hastings, those of the second group of the forum were most vocal in approving the legislative program of the president.

The forum, moderated by When we all vote Palm Beach County, presented 10 candidates in total, divided into two groups. The second part of the debate featured the state representative. Bobby dubose, rformer college administrator Phil jackson, former US Department of Labor investigator Emmanuel Morel, Broward County Commissioner Barbara charief, Fformer State Representative and Palm Beach County Commissioner Priscilla taylor and the state Sen. Perry thurston.

Yolanda Cash Jackson and Nicolas johnson, both lawyers, served as moderators.

The four candidates with experience as elected officials – DuBose, Sharief, Taylor and Thurston – all signed up behind the Biden agenda.

Sharief told voters it would work to “replace aging water infrastructure as well as aging transportation infrastructure – that is, highways and roads – and get some of the money from the Build Back Better plan from Congress and President Biden. “.

Thurston agreed, arguing, “We should definitely be supporting the Biden administration’s Build Back Better program so that we can have our infrastructure needs and we can fix some of the issues affecting our community.”

Taylor made his comments in the context of the Senate filibustering, which was used to thwart Democratic pressure for some of Biden’s costliest proposals.

“We have to get rid of the filibuster,” Taylor said. “We have to work to get Joe Biden’s agenda through because these are things that really benefit District 20.”

And DuBose touted the provisions of Biden’s plan to give the federal government more control over Medicaid.

“We have the opportunity, through the Build Back Better Bill, the Reconciliation Bill, to make Medicaid coverage federal. And that way, we won’t have to deal with the state legislature, ”he said.

Florida notoriously refused to expand Medicaid under President that of Barack Obama Affordable Care Act.

Although Biden’s policies were the center of attention Wednesday night, Hastings was not absent from the proceedings, as DuBose noted up front.

“We have lost a political giant in Congressman Alcee Hastings,” said DuBose. “These are big shoes to fill.”

Hastings passed away earlier this year following a battle with cancer, triggering a special election for his seat.

Jackson and Morel, the two less experienced candidates, focused on their own visions for the district if elected. Jackson has gone through a litany of policy proposals, such as Iincrease the average amount of Social Security benefits from $ 1,500 per month to $ 2,000 per month by taxing businesses and the wealthiest Americans.

He also called for forgiving at least the first $ 50,000, if not all, of student debt, which DuBose, Morel and Thurston have also expressed support for.

“I will work with (US Sens. Chuck) Schumer and (Elisabeth) Warren in terms of college debt forgiveness, ”Jackson said. “They have a plan in place now. I will support them in the House in this regard.

Morel, meanwhile, appeared to take a more flamethrower approach on Wednesday. He spoke out against widespread corruption among elected politicians, but did not go into detail or tear up any of his current opponents by name.

“My goal is not to keep the Democratic Party in the majority. My goal is to represent the people of District 20 as best I can, ”added Morel when asked how he would reach the aisle.

When asked if he would prefer the Democrats not in power, Morel said he wanted them to maintain a majority.

“But if I had to choose between the majority Democrats and my people in District 20 – especially the poor in the Glades, Lauderhill, Pompano – I would choose the people,” he added.

Sharief, however, stressed the importance of bipartisanship – a reality Democrats may have to contend with if Republicans take control of one or both houses of Congress in 2022.

“People too often give the impression that we Democrats cannot compromise with Republicans to get what we want and get things done,” Sharief said. “We have to find common ground so that we can work across the aisle. “

Morel also focused on a push for reparations during the debate.

“We should be talking about reparations because our people are still suffering from the legacy of slavery,” he said.

He came back to the subject more than once.

“Blacks have worked for almost 300 years and have never been paid. They have to be repaid, ”Morel said. “Until that happens, black people will always be late. Our ancestors could not leave us a financial legacy because they were never paid.

DuBose’s main pitch was to compare the combativeness of last year’s legislative session with the inter-party antagonism often seen in Congress.

“When I came to Florida House in 2014 I remember the story was House, we weren’t like DC And this last session we were exactly like DC It was the worst session I have ever had. never used, ”said DuBose.

Nonetheless, he highlighted some of his own legislative successes in the last session, such as the passing of a bill limit seclusion and restraint students with disabilities.

“In the most polarizing legislative session, which was similar to DC, I did it. I worked across the aisle and passed laws, ”said DuBose.

Taylor, meanwhile, focused on her experience as an elected official to advocate with voters.

“It’s not good to take away our rights. It is not acceptable to withdraw a woman’s choice. It is not correct to say that there is no climate change, ”Taylor said. “I have served the people of Palm Beach County in a number of roles and I am ready to step forward and serve in many more.”

Taylor said improving the district’s economy would be her main focus as she highlighted the struggles in the Glades area of ​​Palm Beach County.

“I have fought for this region before. But what they really need in this field – and in District 20, really – are jobs, ”Taylor said. “What I would do is work to try to bring more jobs, better paying jobs, to the region, and also work on the economy and get businesses to buy in the region. “

Thurston said his main goals in Congress would be to address health, criminal justice and education issues.

“It’s one thing to have economic viability. But if you don’t have your health, you have nothing at all, ”Thurston said. “It has been shown during this pandemic. “

In education, he touted his previous support for the Florida public school system during his tenure in the House and Senate.

“If we want people to be able to work and get back on their feet, we need to make sure they have access to affordable education,” Thurston said. “This is why I have always been a big supporter of our public school system and why I have the endorsement of the Broward Teachers Union.”

DuBose agreed with the emphasis on public education, saying Florida Republicans, “There is an all-out attack on mainstream public education.”


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