Ahead of the August 18 Primary Elections, Caribbean-American voters are reminded they can only vote according to their party registration in the Primary Elections.
Voters registered without party affiliation, or NPA, will not be allowed to vote. Registered Democrats can only vote for Democratic candidates on the ballot with Democratic candidates, and the same applies for registered Republican voters, they can only vote for Republican candidates.
However, on Election Day, November 3, Democrats, Republicans and NPA’s can vote for a candidate of whichever party.
Voters are also advised to contact the offices of the respective Supervisor of Elections in their county of residence for early voting places and early voting times.
On behalf of the several candidates that have placed themselves for elections, and the time, energy and funds they have spent seeking to represent the voters of South Florida, we appeal to every eligible voter to vote.
Voting extends over a period of several days which enhances the convenience of voting.
There are very serious issues that affect every member of this community. It is by exercising every voter’s special privilege to elect the most suitable candidate to represent him/her in the respective legislative chamber that these issues can be dealt with to the advantage of each voter, and the community.
National Weekly, over the past several weeks, has closely analyzed responses to questionnaires and the candidates’ position on various issues as they relate to the interests of Caribbean-American and African-American voters. Below is South Florida’s primary election guide, complied by the CNW editorial team.
Alcee Hastings (DEM) Incumbent
Hastings has been a long-term member of Congress who has been consistent in his efforts to improve the quality of life in this district. He has the required experience to continue in the job.
Vic DeGrammont (REP)
DeGrammont describes himself as a problem solver and “looking forward to representing his community and finally putting South Florida First.” He is confident his representation will make a difference in the key areas of public education, healthcare, immigration reforms, pro-gun laws, and improvement in the quality of lives for veterans,
Lois Frankel (DEM) Incumbent
The former Mayor of West Palm Beach is the first woman to represent Florida’s 21st district. In Congress, where she has made her mark as a member of the House Appropriations Committee, where she serves on the Subcommittees of: Energy and Water Development; Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies; and State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs.
Christian Acosta (REP)
He harbors ambition, if elected to Congress, to restore the power and authority of legislatures. His priorities include lowering the cost of prescription drugs, growing Florida’s and the national economy, and achieving sustained job growth; and closing what he calls the education achievement gap.
Ted Deutch (DEM)
Elected to Congress in 2010 Deutch has proved himself a committed Democratic, devoted to issues like gun control, affordable healthcare, improvement in Social Security and Medicare, raising the minimum wage and helping working families.
James (Jim) Pruden (REP)
Pruden says his campaign platform is consistent with, and advances, the principles of economic and political freedom established by the founders of the U.S., domestic and international security, healthcare reform, and an originalist adherence to the U.S. Constitution.
Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (DEM) Incumbent
The incumbent congresswoman has proven herself to be a solid representative for her district and for Floridians in Congress. Her presence benefits Floridians in healthcare, job creation, minimum wage increase, racial and social justice, and fair immigration policies.
Carla Spalding (REP)
This Caribbean American is an ambitious Republican seeking to represent the district with traditional conservative values including strengthening the police; protecting the U.S. borders against illegal immigration, and enhancing the quality of life for American families.
Fredericka Wilson (DEM) Incumbent
She remains a warrior for the District since her first election in 2010 representing District 17. She has adequately represented the cause of the Black Community, including Haitians, and is quite fearless in Washington in fighting for the rights of her district and all Americans.
Carlos Giminez (REP)
The incumbent Miami-Dade mayor is seeking to take a seat in Congress where he believes he will be able to influence the implementation of policies that affect South Florida, including protecting the environment, working for improved healthcare, and improved care for seniors.
Maria Elvira Salazar (REP)
This bold journalist is making her second bid for the U.S. Congress. The issues and policies she represents include anti-socialism, a stronger economy and job creation, term limits for politicians in Washington, and affordable healthcare.
Tina Polsky (DEM)
The former Florida Representative is seeking a Senate seat to give Broward and Palm Beach residents a voice in government. She wants to ensure Florida’s government prioritizes emergency preparedness to adequately respond to public health crises until a COVID-19 vaccine is developed. Her other platforms include gun control, improving public school education, protecting seniors, improved wages, affordable healthcare, racial justice and equality, and addressing climate change.
Perry Thurston (DEM) Incumbent
Thurston is seeking reelection and should be. In his initial tenure, he took his role in representing the people very seriously, and forcibly. He’s very concerned about the damage COVID-19 is wreaking on the state’s health security, economy and schools, and wants to be engaged in stemming the virus, saving jobs and improving the state’s unemployment system and compensation.
Shevrin “Shev” Jones (DEM)
Jones is also seeking to transit from the Florida House to the Senate believing there’s much work to be done. His priorities include improving minimum wage to $15 per hour, increasing affordable housing options, reforming the criminal justice system, protecting the state’s coasts against climate change, improving investment in infrastructure, public transportation and providing more support to Florida’s small business sector.
Javier Fernandez (DEM)
Fernandez is seeking to continue serving Floridians in the Senate after serving in the House, cites his priorities as a senator to include: growing the economy and keeping taxes low, combatting the rigors of climate change, common-sense gun control, funding new infrastructure projects, and making it possible for more Floridians to afford homes.
FLORIDA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVE
Silmo Moura (REP)
His platform is to invest in people—children, teens, and seniors. He wants to ensure children start and get the greatest education, teens remain in school and get a college degree, improve the lives of senior citizens, and honor veterans.
Kelly Skidmore (DEM)
Skidmore who previously served in the Florida House from 2006 to 2008 has been trying to return since. She had failed bids to the Senate in 2010 and 2016. She should be successful in this run, as she definitely seems to have more experience than her competitor, both as a former legislator and a legislative aid in both the House and Senate for 10 years prior.
Eileen Vargas (REP)
Vargas is advocating for pro-life, immigration reform; backs charter school and the vocational school movement, and endorses smaller government, and less regulation and taxes.
Omari Hardy (DEM)
Hardy seems set to unseat incumbent Al Jacquet who has drawn criticism for unexplained absences from the Legislature during his second term. Hardy is a Lake Worth Commissioner with a no-nonsense approach to representation. He supports criminal justice reform, affordable housing, racial justice and equality, job and economic growth.
Bobby DuBose (DEM) Incumbent
DuBose is seeking his third term in the Florida House. He’s anxious to be reelected to continue fighting for the district and providing residents with criminal justice reform, enhanced economic development, increased affordable housing, improved and expanded healthcare, and laws that prevent residents from gun violence.
Anika Omphroy (DEM) Incumbent
Omphroy is facing a strong challenge from newcomer Jasmen Rogers-Shaw for the seat won in 2018. She came under criticism for voting with Republicans on an abortion bill. However, she admitted to being agonized about her decision. She has also shown she has learned a lot in her first tenure, and displays a commitment to the best interests of the district, focusing on jobs, the economy, and other issues crucial to the district.
Saima Farooqui (DEM)
Farooqui is self-described as having a passion for civil rights. The vice president of the Coconut Creek Democratic Club and secretary of the American Muslim Democratic Caucus of Florida is committed to making changes for the betterment of the community, emphasizing the importance of affordable education, accessible healthcare, economic growth, and implementing policies for public safety.
Marie Woodson (DEM)
With thousands of Floridians struggling to obtain adequate unemployment benefits, Woodson wants to be involved in creating an unemployment system that actually works. Her plan is to obtain federal funding to assist Floridians as they recover from the COVID-19 pandemic; improve employment opportunities, especially for the underprivileged; improve healthcare, including coverage for mental health and substance abuse; improve security at public schools, and implement universal background checks to purchase firearms.
Felicia Simone Robinson (DEM)
A former councilwoman of the City of Miami Gardens, Robinson’s priorities are to improve affordable public transportation in the district, provide affordable, far-reaching healthcare; provide quality and innovative education, increase affordable housing, increase job opportunities, improve public safety, and improve the district’s environment with more green spaces and research parks.
Nelson Rodriquez (REP)
Nelson is a rare Republican that supports gun control, wanting to see the state introduce background checks and a three-day wait period on gun sales.
Morey Wright Jr. (DEM)
Caribbean American Morey Wright Jr. brings fresh energy and new ideas to South Florida politics. His priorities include increasing funding for education, expanding access to affordable healthcare, advocating aggressively for seniors, veterans and small businesses; working to pass sensible gun reform, and protecting the environment from climate change.
Maureen Porras (DEM)
Maureen’s experience as an attorney defending the rights of vulnerable populations led her to run for office. She has served and protected families for over 11 years and is ready to serve District 105. Her priorities include: investing in public education, criminal justice reform, preserving Florida’s natural resources, supporting women’s reproductive rights, and protecting immigrants within the community.
Bibiana Potestad (REP)
The local attorney’s objective is to work tirelessly to protect district residents from tax increases and combat the special interests that threaten their quality of life.
Christopher Benjamin (DEM)
Benjamin is eager to be elected to protect residents of his district and Floridians from the health and economic negatives caused by COVID-19. His immediate priorities are fixing and enhancing Florida’s problematic and inadequate unemployment system, training the unemployed for newly created jobs, assisting failing small businesses, and improving the quality of policing within the state.
Dotie Joseph (DEM) Incumbent
This attorney, community activist, and civil rights advocate seems poised to be reelected to continue her quest “for equal access to affordable housing, safe communities, quality education, affordable health care, job creation, and improving quality of life for all who live, work, and play in the district.”
Rosa Maria “Rosy” Palomino (REP)
Palomino is seeking to be elected to the state legislature to put “we the people” back in control of state government. She wants to be involved in not just providing solutions, but also providing conservative solutions that represent the free market, and limited government values.
Jean-Pierre Bado (DEM)
Bado is seeking to represent District 114 to, among other priorities, fight the potentially devastating effects of climate change, especially the threat from rising waters on South Florida’s coast; support common-sense gun reform to keep schools and neighborhoods safe, as well as create more economic opportunity for residents.
Daniel Perez (REP) Incumbent
During his first term, Perez showed the type of drive and commitment that deserves voting for him from among his challengers to give him the opportunity to continue his “tireless work for the residents of the district and the residents of Florida.”
Jessica Laquerre Hylton (DEM)
Hylton is seeking to be the youngest and first black woman to represent this South Miami-Dade district. She is keen on stomping out crime in the district, enhancing the potential for the success of small businesses, creating new opportunities for the youth, and driving homeownership.
(County Commission, School Board, Circuit Court and County Court Judges, State Attorney, Public Defender, Sheriff, Clerk of The Courts, Supervisor of Elections)
Gregory Tony (DEM) Incumbent
There are several capable, experienced law enforcement officers challenging incumbent Sheriff Gregory Tony for the position of Sheriff including the capable Jamaican American Andrew Smalling, former police chief of the cities of Lauderdale Lakes and Lauderhill. Smalling served both communities well and has some admirable traits that he could bring to the position. Willie Jones, who has a commendable law enforcement acumen and is the quintessential father figure, no doubt, is qualified for the post.
The position was held by Scott Israel for six years, but following the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas massacre in 2018, Gov. Ron DeStantis replaced Israel with Tony, which unbelievably became an immediate strike against the new sheriff. Though some might believe Israel should get a second shot at the post, Tony, in his relatively short tenure (18 months) as the county’s top cop, has displayed courageous, no-nonsense leadership and has made the BSO command the most diverse it has been in its 105-year history.
Early in his tenure, Tony took the unpopular position against the department’s disciplinary committee’s recommendation, firing bad cops and disciplining deputies who use excessive force. What was most impressive, is that he made the tough decision long before the nationwide protests demanding accountability from law enforcement. In other words, he was not afraid to challenge the status quo to do the right thing for the community.
Additionally, Tony introduced a racial equity and implicit bias training program and made it mandatory for deputies to help combat racial bias in policing and transformed the Professional Standards Committee (PSC) to now include members of the public. While Tony is receiving push-back from some quarters and has some controversy in his past, he has been building a strong relationship between law enforcement and the community—a necessary ingredient for 21st-century policing. It’s hard to make a case to remove Sheriff Gregory Tony from this position at this time.
Tim Ryan (DEM) Incumbent
Tim Ryan has worked hard to make sure Broward County is strong and resilient. His efforts include: creating high wage jobs and helping workers get skills they need, finding innovative solutions to reduce traffic, and protecting water quality and the environment.
Dale Holness (DEM) Incumbent
Holness, the incumbent Mayor of Broward County, has served the district with utmost diligence over successive terms. He relentlessly fights for benefits for residents and has displayed in recent months as the county struggles with the challenges brought by COVID-19 that he possesses the relevant leadership qualities.
Circuit Judge 16
George Odom Jr. George is a former Marine, and a straight shooter. He promises to “bring honor and dedication to the bench.”
Circuit Court Judge Gr. 18
Padowitz believes Broward citizens would “benefit by having a more efficiently run court system.” She is also sensitive to the role a person’s socioeconomic circumstances can have on whether they receive saying “A lack of availability to the courts because of one’s socioeconomic circumstances is an injustice I have seen.”
Circuit Court Judge Gr 27
Ledee is a good man. Attorneys who went up against him when he was a Miami-Dade prosecutor, hailed his reputation for being tough and fair.
Circuit Court Judge Gr 30
Richards previously served as a good and fair judge and is deserving of another shot on the bench. Although he might always be remembered as the judge who jumped over the bench to protect a witness who was being attacked, he has proven himself to be capable of much more. For example, he streamlined the misdemeanor domestic violence unit; and of the more than 1000 cases and hundreds of jury trials over which he presided, 99 percent of his decisions were upheld.
Circuit Court Judge Gr 50
County Court Judge Gr 22
County Court Judge Gr 27
Caribbean American Phoebee Francois is the best candidate in this race. She is super smart, capable, fair and compassionate.
County Court Judge Gr 31
Sean stood up to an overly harsh judge and paid the price for it.
- Wayne Clark (REP)
Based on experience, Clarke seems the better Republican candidate.
Supervisor of Elections
Joe Scott (DEM)
Scott, a West Point graduate, who refers to himself as a “tech geek,” has the necessary talents to ensure the county’s electoral system is capably and fairly managed. He will create a system where appropriate technological innovations will ensure votes are not compromised, and in which voters can turn out to vote in large numbers without hindrance, confident their votes will be counted on time.
School Board – District 3
School Board – District 9
STATE ATTORNEY – 17th JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
Harold Pryor is the right person for this position, especially at a time when people of color are demanding a more equitable justice system. Pryor has firsthand experience of the justice system’s shortcomings for Black people, and believes becoming a part of that system is the best way to reform it. As an Assistant State Attorney of the 17th Judicial Circuit of Florida, Pyror prosecuted serious criminal offenses, developing the reputation for being tough yet fair—a trait necessary for the role.
County Public Defender
Gordon Weekes (DEM)
Caribbean American Weekes is a natural successor to Howard Finkelstein as Broward County’s public defender. The office, which serves mostly blacks and other minorities, could benefit from a candidate who understands them better, Finklestein who is retiring, was quoted as saying. Weekes successfully served as chief assistant public defender in charge of the Juvenile Division.
Clerk of the Court
Mark Alan Speiser
This is a close race between Paul Backman and Mark Alan Speiser, challenging incumbent Brenda Forman. Essentially, anyone can win this race, but we think Speiser is the most qualified. He will bring to the position a wealth of knowledge and an innovative spirit that will help to move the clerk’s office in a more positive direction. Having been involved in creating the nation’s first mental health court, Florida’s second drug court and Broward County’s first veteran’s court, Speiser shows he can put his out-of-the-box ideas to good use—a characteristic that bodes well for the clerk’s office and the people it serves.
(State Attorney, Mayor, County Commission, Property Appraiser, School Board, Circuit Court and County Court Judges, State Attorney, Public Defender, Clerk Of The Courts)
Daniella Levine Cava
The former Miami-Dade Commissioner is seeking to emerge as the county’s first female mayor from a strong field of four candidates. She offers a much-needed fresh perspective on the leadership of the myriad problems of this very diverse community.
STATE ATTORNEY, 11TH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
Melba V. Pearson (DEM)
Pearson is an assistant state attorney advocating for criminal justice reform, committed to ending racial disparities within the criminal justice system and safely reducing Miami-Dade’s jail population. She wants to ensure the State Attorney’s Office put new resources and more attention towards bringing justice to domestic violence and sexual assault victims, and stem the criminalization of poverty by ending cash bond requirements for most non-violent offenders.
CIRCUIT JUDGE, 11TH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
Olanike “Nike” Adebayo
Roderick “Rod” Vereen
Marcia Giordano Hansen
Dava J. Tunis
Joseph J. Mansfield
Gilbert, Mayor of Miami Gardens is in a tight race with Sybrina Fulton, mother of the late slain Miami teenager Trayvon Martin. While Fulton has gained notoriety for her mission against gun violence, and for criminal justice, Gilbert has more experience gained during his tenure as mayor.
Gepsie M. Metellus
The Haitian American community activist is in a very crowded race of five candidates, vying for this seat. Her tireless community work has prepared her to serve the wider community, and address her priorities to help struggling families, expand opportunities for small businesses, increase affordable housing, and address traffic congestion in the county.
Eileen Higgins (Incumbent)
As County Commissioner, Higgins has been an advocate for residents and small businesses. She has fought for transportation solutions, championed affordable housing, helped Flagler St. businesses suffering through endless construction recover, and defended the environment and green space.
The former Mayor of Pinecrest has the necessary experience to represent the district. She is a nationally acclaimed leader on climate change policies—a skill much-needed on the county commission as sea level rises and threatens the coastline.
Hill, an attorney, is a consistent “servant leader” in the Caribbean community. The Jamaican American, business and professional leader, wants “…to elevate what I have been doing for years on a different platform.” He’s seeking election to “help magnify the voices of Miami-Dade residents and needs to the hallways of county government.” His priorities include: providing a solution to the affordable housing crisis, fighting for public transit expansion to ease traffic congestion, preservation of the natural environment, and improving fair and just community policing.
Asencio, a former state representative, promises to place emphasis on solving the grave transportation problem that hinders this district and improving the economic opportunities for the numerous small businesses located within the district.
The former Florida senator has gained significant experience over the years and is suitable to be seated on the county commission where his priorities include providing more affordable housing, freezing property taxes for seniors, addressing mental health and substance abuse issues, and protecting the county’s environment.
Zenteno has over fifteen years’ experience as a State General Appraiser. Her goal is to bring the county’s property appraiser’s office into the twenty-first century with stronger support for its diverse workforce.
SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER
Marie Flore Lindor-Latortue
COMMUNITY COUNCIL 8, SUBAREA 82 Alethia Emily Hinds
COMMUNITY COUNCIL 11, SUBAREA 114 Christian Cevallos
COMMUNITY COUNCIL 14, SUBAREA 144 Kelli Ann Thomas
COMMUNITY COUNCIL 14, SUBAREA 146 Steven M. Green
COMMUNITY COUNCIL 15, SUBAREA 154 Marvin D. Wilson Sr
CITY OF MIAMI GARDENS
The Jamaican American, who founded the Female Development World Organization Inc. (FDWO) and was a pioneer in the Reggae Girlz development in their historic run to the FIFA World Cup, is focused on education, health, social development and ending the abuse of girls and young women, especially in socio-economically challenged communities. Deer is a Human Trafficking Expert who has worked with Florida legislators to propose language for the Human Trafficking Education in Schools Bill.
Residential Seat 1
Residential Seat 3
At-Large Seat 5
PALM BEACH COUNTY
(Clerk And Comptroller, Sheriff, County Commission, School Board, Circuit Court And County Court Judges, Soil And Water Conservation, Port Of Palm Beach, Tax Collector)
Clerk and Comptroller
Joseph Abruzzo (DEM)
Karen Marcus (REP)
Dave Kerner (DEM)
Mark Bernard (DEM)
Circuit Judge 15th Judicial Circuit
GROUP 16 – Henry Quinn Johnson
GROUP 30 – Adam Myron
County Court Judge
GROUP 12 – Debra Moses Stephens
Palm Beach Soil & Water Conservation
GROUP 2 – Ann Marie Sorrell
GROUP 3 – Nicholas T. O’Neal
GROUP 4 – Rob Long
Port of Palm Beach
GROUP 1 – Wayne M. Richards (DEM)
GROUP 2 – Katherine Waldon (DEM)
GROUP 3 – Clarence “Chief” Williams lll (DEM)
School Board Member
District 1 – Barbara McQuinn
District 2 – Alexandria Marie Ayala
District 5 – Frank Anthony Barbieri, Jr.
Ric Bradshaw (DEM)
Supervisor of Elections
Paulette V. Armstead
Anne M. Gannon (DEM)