Congressional Candidate Forum Held on Miami Beach

By Ana Cecilia Velasco….

Candidate for U.S. Senate Kendrick Meek with questioners Alexa Hoffman, Alessia Pizzorni, Patrick Quinlan and Estefania Vasquez (left to right).

On September 14th the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce hosted a Congressional Candidates Forum featuring Kendrick Meek. The Forum was the first of this election season. This event was structured as an opportunity to include the youth of the Community to become involved and for the Chamber of Commerce to engage future leaders.

Aaron Tandy, the Chairman of the Chamber’s Advocacy Council and a shareholder with Gunster Yoakley & Stewart, fielded questions to the candidate from students representing Miami Country Day School and Miami Beach Senior High School, as well as questions posed by the Leadership of the Chamber and the audience. The student questions were centered on issues of unemployment, preservation of the ecosystem, unification of the country and unfunded mandates for class size. Meek responded by citing everglades restoration, opposition to offshore oil drilling while creating jobs through innovative call to action. Additionally, he expressed a unification of the country through leadership and community politics as opposed to crowd politics. As far as the issue which was posed regarding the unfunded mandate for class size reductions, Meek acknowledged that the responsibility lies with the State, however referred to long-range applications and the need for the community to invest in the concept.

Additional questions were presented asking what Meek would change about the healthcare reform plan, how he would prioritize the 50 billion dollar stimulus package and counteract beach erosion. In brief, he stated that the healthcare reform wasn’t a perfect bill but a move in breaking the control of the insurance companies. There wasn’t a clear indication of prioritization of the package other than initiating more Research and Development as a means to lift the economy and stimulate job creation. He acknowledged a significant problem with Beach erosion and the importance of the beach to the Miami Beach Tourist economy. Beach renourishment as it applies to the various areas of the state would be needed as an approach. “Our mission is to communicate the view of the business community on major issues of public policy. To that end, the Chamber is proud to provide a venue for our community to hear from, and present questions the Congressional Candidates“, stated Chairman of the Board, Aaron Perry.

“As a member of the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce, it’s good to have the Chamber move beyond local government to afford us the chance to interact with individuals who would influence our national and international policies,” commented Board Member, Ira Leesfield.

Both Marco Rubio and Charlie Crist indicated they were unable to attend the event. The Chamber plans to host subsequent evenings as schedules allow. The program was held in the Auditorium of Miami Beach Senior High School. Please look for information on future events as the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce will be inviting the other candidates to participate.

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