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Early voting begins for the November 8 US General Election on Monday, October 24. This is one of the nation’s most critical elections in light of the often caustic nature of the presidential campaign.

Voters are advised not to be dissuaded by its negative aspects, but to stand and let their voices be heard by taking advantage of the privilege to vote. Moreover, registered voters are required to vote on ballot choices that include other vital elected offices other than US President/Vice President. These other elected offices include the US Senate and House of Representatives. As was evident in the second term of President Obama, a president is disadvantaged in getting legislation passed if his party does not have the majority in the US Senate and House. Other elected offices which voters should focus on include election to Florida’s Senate and House of Representatives, as well as county and city mayors and commissioners, circuit and county court judges, and school board members. All affect daily life in the state. Voters are strongly advised to vote on constitutional amendments, and questions included on some county ballots. The response to these amendments and questions can potentially impact the lives of South Florida residents, dependent on the majority vote. Too many issues are at stake in South Florida, Florida and the nation, for registered voters not to participate in the process to elect individuals who can address these issues adequately and competently. To assist voters in their choice, CNW Network, over the past several months, has closely observed the candidates, their respective platforms as outlined in speeches, campaign websites and questionnaires. We conclude who should best be elected to represent various offices in these elections. Accordingly, our endorsements and recommendations follow:

Recommendations

Hillary Clinton and Tim KaneHillary Clinton/Tim Kaine – DEM
Hillary Clinton, former First Lady of Arkansas, First Lady of the United States, US Senator from New York, and Secretary-of-State is the most qualified candidate to succeed Barack Obama as president. Although hard-pressed to expand on her policies if elected, Mrs. Clinton has made it clear she will build on Obama’s legacy.
This legacy includes issues vital to Caribbean-Americans, like comprehensive immigration reform; increasing the Federal minimum wage; improving the national economy and creating more job opportunities; improving comprehensive health insurance as approved under the Affordable Care Act; reforming the criminal justice system; enhancing civil rights for minorities; streamlining the Federal student loan system; more accessibility to affordable college education; expansion of paid family leave; improvement in the Social Security program, and a more secure society.
The extreme views of her opponent Donald Trump make him unprepared and unfit to be president. He does not treat the people of this country with respect. His bigotry, divisiveness, and hate are not the qualities of an American president.

patrick murphyPatrick Murphy – DEM
Murphy, a former US Congressman, has shown he understands the need for bold action on issues like immigration, minimum wage increase, more employment opportunities, and much needed increased benefits for seniors.
He is in a very competitive race with incumbent Marco Rubio who unsuccessfully ran for president. Initially, Rubio said he was not interested in running for the Senate, then changed his mind. However, during his tenure as senator, Rubio was criticized for missing several sessions. Florida needs a senator who is focused on critical issues and Patrick Murphy has shown he has this focus.

Randy PerkinsDistrict 18
Randy Perkins – Democrat
Perkins is best suited to succeed Patrick Murphy in the US Congress. He has put forward strong platforms for the improvement of the welfare of seniors, job growth, healthcare, the rights of veterans and women, and as pertains to the district, effectively address the quality and supply of the domestic water system.

Alcee HastingsDistrict 20
Alcee Hastings – DEM
Hastings, a focused, hardworking congressional representative should easily win his 13th term and continue to offer his veteran’s experience in Congress.

Debbie Wasserman SchultzDistrict 23
Debbie Wasserman Schultz – DEM
Wasserman Schultz has proved a source of pride for South Florida in the US House, and in her former leadership of the Democratic National Committee. She fights tirelessly for women’s rights, and social issues including child protection. She remains the best candidate to represent the district. Her strong points include fighting for immigration reform; increasing the minimum wage; job growth and expansion of comprehensive healthcare.

Alina ValdesDistrict 25
Dr. Alina Valdes – DEM
Admittedly, newcomer Valdes has a tremendous challenge to unseat incumbent Republican Mario Diaz-Balart in a district that favors Republicans. However, a huge Democratic turnout could see her creating an upset. Valdes’ stance on reducing gun violence, strengthening affordable healthcare, expanding social security and focusing on the effects of climate change are strong points.

Joe GarciaDistrict 26
Joe Garcia – DEM
Garcia is seeking to return to Congress by defeating incumbent Carlos Curbelo with redistricting. Pulling more registered Democrats to the district is an advantage for Garcia. During his tenure in Congress, before losing his seat to Curbelo in 2014, Garcia was a warrior for his district and issues like immigration reform.

Ileana RosDistrict 27
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen – REP
Ros-Lehtinen has been a popular champion here since first elected to the US House in 1989. Her Democratic opponent, Scott Fuhrman, has articulated the prevailing issues, and is running a hard campaign, but faces a daunting task to unseat her.

Bruno MooreDistrict 25 – Palm Beach County Ballot
Bruno Moore – DEM
Moore will have a hard task unseating incumbent Republican Joe Negron, but he is depending on a strong grassroots campaign to do so. Both Moore and his opponent are strong on providing clean water supply for the district and Martin County.

Bobby PowellDistrict 30
Bobby Powell – DEM – Palm Beach County Ballot
Former State Representative Powell seeks to advance to the Senate to aggressively advocate criminal justice for Florida residents. His platform is built around general use of body cameras by state officers, stricter gun laws; improvements and more funding for early education, and more apprentice programs to secure jobs and better pay for residents.

Gary FarmerDistrict 34 – Broward County Ballot
Gary Farmer – DEM
Farmer is a logical choice, especially as his Republican opponent. Antoaneta Lotova is beset by legal problems. Farmer presents himself as the kind of no-nonsense politician Democrats badly need in the Florida Senate. He is passionate about gun control, Medicaid expansion, and regulating Florida’s property insurance companies.

Anabella PeraltaDistrict 36 – Miami-Dade County Ballot
Anabella Grohoski Peralta – DEM
Republican incumbent Rene Garcia has been in the Florida House since 2001 and the Senate since 2012. Yet, he has not influenced votes to increase the state’s minimum wage to realistic levels, provide universal health insurance for all Floridians, or protect the state from the effects of climate change. These are issues that Peralta seems committed to.

Jose RodriguezDistrict 37 – Miami-Dade County Ballot
Jose Javier Rodriguez – DEM
This is a very contentious race between Rodriguez and Republican incumbent Miguel Diaz de la Portilla. Rodriguez gained solid experience in the Florida House. His voice and vote is needed in the Senate as he advocates for working families, relief for homeowners, repair to state infrastructure and more funds for educational development.

Daphne CampbellDistrict 38 – Miami Dade County Ballot
Daphne Campbell – DEM
Campbell is making the transition from the Florida House to Senate. Her vigilance for constituents, especially Haitian-Americans, qualifies her for election to the Senate.

Debbie PowellDistrict 39 – Miami Dade County Ballot
Debbie Murcasel-Powell – DEM
This is another district where an incumbent Republican, Flores Anitere, is being challenged by Democratic newcomer, Debbie Murcasel-Powell, who is campaigning tirelessly to provide citizens of district and state with a cleaner environment, improved public school education, reduce gun violence, improve the rights of women and immigrants.

Dwight BullardDistrict 40 – Miami-Dade County Ballot
Dwight Bullard – DEM
Bullard is tipped to continue the work of his parents in the Senate, having proven his worth in the Florida House. He is an advocate for improvement in education, better salaries and benefits for teachers, and affordable healthcare.

Mary HigginsDistrict 82 –Palm Beach County Ballot
Mary W. Higgins – DEM
A repeat of the 2014 ‘Battle of The Mary’s, won by Republican MaryLynn Magar. Higgins seems on better footing to take the seat this time round as her campaign is better organized. She has strong views on improving the water flow and algae bloom that threatens the district, and Medicaid expansion.

Robert SimeoneDistrict 85 – Palm Beach County Ballot
Robert Simeone – DEM
Simeone looks the more dynamic of the candidates. He supports expanding local businesses, strengthening the state’s small business sector; and, according to him, confronting climate change head-on.

Matt WilhiteDistrict 86 – Palm Beach County Ballot
Matt Willhite – DEM
Whillhite is seeking to improve the district’s environment and water quality, fight for seniors, improve transportation and infrastructure, strengthen law enforcement and public safety, and improve the quality of public schools.

Ken KeechiDistrict 93 – Broward County Ballot
Ken Keechi – DEM
The veteran politician and former mayor of Broward County, has been running for re-election to representational politics since 2010. His experience serves him well. He is sound on education across the state, effective gun control policy, and further decriminalization for possession of marijuana.

Ivette GonzalezDistrict 103 – Broward/Miami Dade County Ballot
Ivette Gonzalez Petkovich – DEM
Gonzalez Petkovich’s advocacy for traditional public schools is a contrast to the charter school system supported by incumbent Republican Manny Diaz, Jr. She also champions criminal justice reform, including prison reform, and healthcare reform.

Richard StarkDistrict 104 – Broward County Ballot
Richard “Rich” Stark – DEM
Stark is seeking his third term in the Florida House. His stance on criminal justice reform, including eliminating mandatory sentences for certain offences, gun control and the need for Florida to quickly address climate change should see him re-elected.

Jose OlivaDistrict 110 – Miami Dade County Ballot
Jose Oliva – REP
Oliva, the incumbent, is not only entrenched in the district, but regarded as a rising star in the House where he is expected to be the next Speaker if elected. He is a moderate who supports lowering taxes and creating incentives to attract more businesses to the state. This is a very difficult race for his Democratic opponent, Carlos Puentes, Sr

Nicholas DuarnDistrict 112 – Miami-Dade County Ballot
Nicholas Duran – DEM
In a very competitive race against Republican Rosa Maria “Rosy” Palomino, Duran is recommended. Executive director of the Florida Association of Free and Charitable Clinics, he is a strong advocate for expanding healthcare for state residents.

David RichrdsonDistrict 113- Miami-Dade County Ballot
David Richardson – DEM
The two-term representative says he’s committed to easing challenges his Democratic caucus faces in the Florida House. He is committed “to break new barriers” if re-elected. He describes the core of his representation as identifying waste in the State budget so funds can be better used to improve Florida schools, preserve the environment and improve healthcare.

Daisy BaezDistrict 114 – Miami Dade County Ballot
Daisy Baez – DEM
The Dominican-American is making another bid to represent the district. Her advocacy includes Medicaid expansion, more access to healthcare for residents, and strengthening the state’s public school system.

Jeffrey SolomonDistrict 115 – Miami Dade County Ballot
Jeffrey “Doc” Solomon – DEM
The Pinecrest chiropractor is passionate about strengthening public and providing higher educational opportunities. This includes training and attracting more qualified teachers.
Another pledge is protecting the state’s clean water supply and citizens through better community policing, as well as hiring more police officers.

Jose Felix DiazDistrict 116 – Miami Dade County Ballot
Jose Felix “Pepi” Diaz – REP
It will be difficult to prevent Diaz, the incumbent, from being re-elected for a fourth term. He has proven a strong advocate for affordable housing and providing Kidcare and Medicaid for immigrant children.

Robert AscensioDistrict 118 – Miami Dade County Ballot
Robert Ascencio – DEM
Ascencio supports improvement in public education, healthcare, expansion of affordable healthcare insurance, criminal justice reform, economic development and the empowerment of workers

Jeanette NunezDistrict 119 – Miami Dade County Ballot
Jeanette M. Nunez – REP
Representing the district in the Florida House since 2010, Nunez is a dedicated public servant. She has focused on improving the lives of Florida’s children and improving the state’s education from kindergarten to higher learning.

District 120 – Miami Dade County Ballot
Dan Horton – DEM
Horton is seeking election to build a strong middle-class; demand racial equality; fight for comprehensive healthcare; ensure access to justice and protect the state’s water and natural resources.

JUSTICES OF THE FLORIDA SUPREME COURT (All County Ballots)

The retention of Justices in the Supreme Court is recommended to provide smooth continuance.

Vote YES for retaining
Justice Jorge Labarga
Justice Charles T Canady
Justice Ricky Polston

RETAIN DISTRICT COURT OF APPEAL JUDGES

District 4 – Palm Beach County
Vote Yes to retain the following judges:
Cory J. Ciklin
Dorian K. Damoorgian,
Jonathan D. Gerber,
Robert M. Gross,
Spencer D. Levine
Melanie G. May

District 3 – Miami Dade County
Vote Yes to retain the following judges:
Edwin A. Scales, III
Linda Ann Wells

CIRCUIT COURT JUDGES

Miami-Dade
Group 11/34 – Mark Blumstein
Group 11/52 – Carol “Jodie” Breece

Broward
Group 17/9 – Lea P. Krauss
Group 17/15 – Barbara Roseann Duffy

Palm Beach County
Group 15/4 – Gregory Tendrich

BROWARD COUNTY BALLOT

Clerk of the Court – Brenda Forman (DEM)
County Sheriff – Scott Israel (DEM)
Supervisor of Elections – Brenda Snipes (DEM)

BROWARD COUNTY COMMISSION

District 3 – Michael Udine (DEM)
District 5 – Steven Anthony Geller (DEM)

BROWARD COUNTY COURT JUDGES

Group 3 – Florence Taylor Banner
Group 7 – Ian Richards
Group 14 – Kim Theresa Mollica
BROWARD MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS

CITY OF LAUDERDALE LAKES MAYOR
Hazelle Rogers

COMMISSIONERS
Seat 3 – Eileen Rathery
Seat 4 – Larry G. Striggles

CITY OF LAUDERHILL COMMISSIONERS
Seat 1 – Richard Campbell
Campbell, a Jamaican-American, is attempting to unseat Commissioner Howard Berger. Campbell’s heritage makes him a natural fit in this heavily Caribbean and African-American populated city. In recent years, Campbell has focused on youth development through sports, particularly his involvement in the CASA Soccer League. He is also calling for closer relations between the city’s Caribbean and African-American communities, and for safer, more secure communities.

Seat 2 – Kenneth Thurston

Seat 3 – Mae Smith
Smith, a tireless community activist, is challenging incumbent Margaret Bates. A strong case can be made for Smith whose priorities include building the city’s cultural diversity, lowering property tax rates and improving public safety. Bates has been a commissioner for almost 20 years, who initiated the Martin Luther King celebration which she continues to lead annually. Either candidate could serve the city well, but we believe Smith would bring fresh ideas and new energy.

CITY OF MARGATE COMMISSIONERS
Seat 1 – Anthony Caggiano
Seat 2 – Renata Castro

CITY OF NORTH LAUDERDALE COMMISSIONERS
District D – Samson Borgelin

CITY OF PLANTATION COMMISSIONERS
Group 3 – Ron Jacobs
Group 4 – Chris Zimmerman
Group 5 – Robert Levy

CITY OF SUNRISE COMMISSIONERS

Group A – Mark Douglas
Douglas seeks to make history as the first Caribbean-American to sit on the city’s commission. He hopes to bring diversity and inclusiveness to Sunrise, which has a significant Caribbean population.
Among Douglas’ priorities are improving the infrastructure in Sunrise’s older, eastern communities and expanding its small business sector.

CITY OF TAMARAC COMMISSIONERS
District 1 – Marlon Bolton
District 2 -Julie Fishman

CITY OF HOLLYWOOD
Mayor – Eleanor Sobel

COMMISSIONERS
District 1 – Debra A. Case
District 2 – Tim Burton
District 4 – Richard Blattner
District 5 – Linda Sherwood

CITY OF CORAL SPRINGS COMMISSIONERS
Seat 3 – Karen Jones

CITY OF POMPANO
Mayor – Lamar Fisher

COMMISSIONERS
District 1 – Dawn Marie Richards
District 2 – Charlotte Burrie
District 3 – Rex Hardin
District 4 – Ed Phillips
District 5 – Barry Moss

CITY OF DANIA COMMISSIONERS
Open Seat – Tamara Jones

PALM BEACH COUNTY BALLOT

COUNTY COMMISSION
District 1 – Tony Bennett – DEM
District 3 – Dave Kerner – DEM
District 5 – Mary Lou Berger – DEM

PALM BEACH COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD
District 1 – Barbara McQuinn

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY BALLOT

County Mayor – Carlos Giminez
In this important run-off, incumbent Mayor Carlos Giminez is challenged by school board member Raquel Regalado. Giminez has worked hard to improve county services. He promises to reduce property taxes, even lowering it slightly this year. He has proven to be a Mayor who cares for county residents and employees.

CLERK OF THE CIRCUIT COURT
Harvey Ruvin – DEM

MIAMI-DADE SCHOOL BOARD
District 1 – Wilbert “Tee” Halloway
District 6 – Maria Teresa Rojas

FLORIDA BALLOT QUESTIONS OR CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS

NO. 1 CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT ARTICLE X, SECTION 29 Rights of Electricity Consumers Regarding Solar Energy Choice
VOTE NO

NO. 2 CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT ARTICLE X, SECTION 29: Use of Marijuana for Debilitating Medical Conditions
VOTE YES

NO. 3 CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT ARTICLE VII, SECTION 6 ARTICLE XII Tax Exemption for Totally and Permanently Disabled First Responders.
VOTE YES

NO. 5 CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT ARTICLE VII, SECTION 6 ARTICLE XII Homestead Tax Exemption for Certain Senior, Low-Income, Long-Term Residents; Determination of Just Value.
VOTE YES

BROWARD COUNTY BALLOT QUESTIONS
No. 1 Broward County Charter Review commission member terms and future appointment.
Vote: Yes

No. 2 Amend Broward County Charter to eliminate the management and efficiency study committee.
Vote: Yes

No. 3 Half-cent tax increase to support improvement of the county’s transportation (bus, rail system, etc.) to reduce traffic congestion.
Vote: Yes

No. 4 Half-cent tax increase to fund improvement of the county’s local government infrastructure, including public buildings, roads, recreation facilities, purchase public, safety vehicles, etc.
Vote: Yes

*NOTE: Both items 3 & 4 must pass in order for either item to go through.

PALM BEACH COUNTY BALLOT QUESTION

Implement one cent sales sur-tax (to improve school buildings, roads, etc.)
Vote Yes

Early voting begins for the November 8 US General Election on Monday, October 24. This is one of the nation’s most critical elections in light of the often caustic nature of the presidential campaign.

Voters are advised not to be dissuaded by its negative aspects, but to stand and let their voices be heard by taking advantage of the privilege to vote. Moreover, registered voters are required to vote on ballot choices that include other vital elected offices other than US President/Vice President.
These other elected offices include the US Senate and House of Representatives. As was evident in the second term of President Obama, a president is disadvantaged in getting legislation passed if his party does not have the majority in the US Senate and House.
Other elected offices which voters should focus on include election to Florida’s Senate and House of Representatives, as well as county and city mayors and commissioners, circuit and county court judges, and school board members. All affect daily life in the state.
Voters are strongly advised to vote on constitutional amendments, and questions included on some county ballots. The response to these amendments and questions can potentially impact the lives of South Florida residents, dependent on the majority vote.
Too many issues are at stake in South Florida, Florida and the nation, for registered voters not to participate in the process to elect individuals who can address these issues adequately and competently.
To assist voters in their choice, the National Weekly, over the past several months, has closely observed the candidates, their respective platforms as outlined in speeches, campaign websites and questionnaires. We conclude who should best be elected to represent various offices in these elections. Accordingly, our endorsements and recommendations follow: