TAMPA — Gay adoption, health care, Cuba policy and immigration underscored the differences between the two District 57 state representative candidates Friday at a Tiger Bay forum.
More than 100 people turned out to hear where Republican Dana Young and Democrat Stacy Frank stand on the issues.
In most cases, their positions fell along party lines.
Young supports Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum's lawsuit challenging the federal health care legislation, while Frank does not.
On illegal immigration, Frank said she would not back any law that would mean a person could be detained based on skin color or accent.
She would, though, support legislation that cancels state contracts with vendors who employ undocumented workers.
"The only reason we have that problem is because there is a demand for their services," she said. "If we cut off the demand for their services, that won't be a reason for them to be here as illegal aliens."
Young agreed with Frank that employee verification would help lessen the state's illegal immigration problem. But more might need to be done at the state level if the federal government doesn't do more to tackle the problem.
Young got booed when she declined to condemn Florida's law prohibiting gay couples from adopting children.
"Regardless of party affiliation, I think that we all agree that the best scenario for a child is to be in a loving family with a mother and father," she said.
The crowd applauded loudly when Frank firmly stated: "I support gay adoption."
On U.S.-Cuba relations, Frank said she believes it's time to lift the Cuban trade embargo.
"I cannot think of a greater hypocrisy than a political view that says we cannot open relations with a country 90 miles from our shore while we trade with a country like China that's one of the most oppressive countries around," she said. "Open our doors to Cuba. That is the way to spread democracy."
Young said putting money into the Cuban economy means money will be going to Fidel Castro, not the people, because most of the country's citizens there work for the government.
Young was asked if she planned to vote for Republican Rick Scott for governor, and, if so, what qualified him to lead the state.
Her response: "I will answer that by saying I was a strong supporter of Bill McCollum."
District 57 includes South Tampa, Town 'N Country and Westchase.
Janet Zink can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 226-3401.