Forum asks candidates: Why should Latinos vote for you?
At a candidate forum in Town 'n Country on Wednesday, state and local candidates answered the question: Why should Latinos vote for you? For the most part, GOP candidates declined to attend, but it would have been interesting to watch some of the Republican candidates for the legislature explain their support of an Arizona-style immigration law at the event. One notable exception: Republican Sandy Murman, who as a Hillsborough County Commission candidate can safely stay away from the immigration debate. She told the crowd she supports expanding trade with Cuba and talked about the need to make it easier to do businesses in the county to promote job growth. U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor earned applause when she pointed out she's the only member of the Florida delegation to sign onto federal legislation that would end travel restrictions to Cuba. She also talked about the work she's done to make college more affordable. State House candidate Stacy Frank also highlighted affordable higher education, saying her opponent for the District 57 seat, Dana Young, wants to increase tuition at public universities to lessen the need for state funding. Others -- including commission candidate John Dingfelder (Murman's Democratic opponent), and state House candidates Janet Cruz, David Chalela and Michael Steinberg -- talked about discrimination. Dingfelder and Steinberg both said as Jews, they're familiar with issue. "We Jews know a little bit about prejudice," Dingfelder said. Near the end of the forum, one of its moderators, Luis Baron, informed the group that a recent Pew Hispanic Research Center survey concluded that by far, education tops the list of concerns for the Latin community nationwide, so Castor and Frank were on target. The survey showed education is followed by jobs, then health care and the federal deficit. Immigration ranks fifth.