"I don't really want to stop the show,
But I thought that you might like to know,"
That the choice becomes clearer.
"So let me introduce to you
The one and only" Carole Kaye, Candidate for Florida House District 86
Local Election Days are upon us. For months now candidates for elected office have roamed their regions. Everyday people have had ample opportunity to meet, greet, and yes, even eat a meal with aspirants. Often, one challenger's name is better known. He or she may be an incumbent, or closely associated with one. Consider the Florida House race in District 86. Dissimilar Democratic candidates Carole Kaye and Lori Berman appear on the ballot. Who are these office seekers? What will they do for my community, commerce, our children, and me? Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, and parts of Boca Raton constituents, who have not made politics their lives, search for answers as they travel to the polls.
Citizens are inundated with "information." Posters dot the landscape. Banners fly on Boulevards. Constituents don pins and place placards on their lawn. Windows and automobile bumpers have not escaped unscathed. Today, the message heard on avenue is "The time is now." Indeed, it is. Early voting began on August 9 and will continue through August 22, 2010. In Florida, while technically Primary Election Day is August 24, 2010, in reality it is today. In Palm Beach County House District 86, Primary Election Day is the final deciding date. Democrats with different styles compete for state House 86 seat. There is no Republican challenger in this race. The winner of the Primary will represent South Palm Beach County communities. Yet, many people do not feel equipped to decide. Whom might I cast a ballot for, the much lauded Lori Berman, or the lesser known, highly qualified, Attorney, Educator, and person who for years has shared and cared for my backyard, Carole Kaye.
After college, she became a Teacher. One score and five years later, Carole Kaye returned to the classroom, this time as a student. Kaye capably completed her law degree. Since then she has served as an Immigration Attorney. Ms. Kaye, through her skills, and abilities gives voice to persons who are guaranteed due process rights by the United States Constitution. Carole Kaye believes the rights of her clients must be protected; that calling is her greatest responsibility. As a Representative she will see herself as a civil servant. Ms. Kaye also affirms that, if elected, the populace she represents will be her principal priority.
Lori Berman, by contrast, is a non-practicing attorney. Originally, Ms. Berman entered the race in her home District, 87. Republican challenger Bill Hager also sought the peoples' vote in that region. However, a window opened. Maria Sachs, who had represented District 86, declared herself a candidate for the State Senate seat vacated by Ted Deutch, Ms. Berman's friend and one-time employer. Hence, Ms. Berman slammed the door to District 87 shut. As Lori Berman recounts, at the request of her well-connected acquaintance, Representative Kevin Rader, a Delray Beach Democratic legislator, she chose to abandon her plans and run for the seat in District 86. Thus, the now 86th District hopeful, Berman, left her home community and the campaign she began behind. The opportunity in the new district was hard to refuse.
Ms Berman, an abundantly funded one-time Legislative Aide to former United States. Representative Robert Wexler and to his successor, Ted Deutch, understood that in a region where only 21 percent of registered voters are Republicans and 23 percent are without a party affiliation, she has an enhanced chance. The likelihood of a win in this locality was thought far better than it might have been in the race she fled. Soon, Lori Berman will know whether her bet paid off.
Carole Kaye will also learn; is this the year that people take back their elections, or will politicians again exert their power? Will ample contributions and connections trump a genuine commitment? Only citizens can decide.
Each has identified themselves as a grassroots campaigner. However, even a local periodical which endorses Ms Berman questions this truth. The Palm Beach Post points to Lori Berman's well-established network of politicos. Many on Ms. Berman's list of impressive backers are powerful persons with whom the candidate associated with professionally.
Carole Kaye also has gathered and accepted endorsements. The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance officially stated the organization stands with Carole Kaye and her candidacy. Democracy for America's Palm Beach County affiliate, and the United Haitian American Democratic Club also offered formal statements of support. The acknowledgement of these also reflects what is real. Carole Kaye connects to a broad group of persons in her District. She takes every opportunity to express her appreciation for her community as she did just days ago.
As was true for other local hopefuls, Ms Kaye was given an opportunity to seek an endorsement from the Palm Beach County Chapter of Democracy for America. The District 86 Democrat participated fully in a comprehensive evaluation process.
Hopefuls were first seen and heard at many neighborhood candidate forums. Those who were thought viable Democrats received announcements from DFA. Aspirants were asked if they would wish to submit a required application for endorsement. Respondents were also given survey questions to answer.. Also, exhaustive interviews were mandated. After all the criterion was met, assessments were made.
More than satisfied with candidate Carole Kaye's performances and positions, the Chapter then offered their official statement of support. Ms. Kaye was thus invited to publicly meet, greet, and eat with DFA members. At this dinner meeting, she would have an opportunity to accept her endorsement, Humbly she agreed to appear. On that occasion, Kaye stood in front of dedicated Democrats and offered her thanks.
There are many things that I am grateful for in this race for the State House. I am most grateful that I have not been compromised by the process. I am grateful that I am firm enough in my positions to withstand the seduction of interest group endorsements and the promise of their donations, I am blessed by the strangers who have become friends and supporters, and I am comforted by the understanding of all who I meet who know, first hand, how difficult it is to run as an outsider in a county where democracy is not always practiced.
I have been asked to leave the race, threatened for staying in. As they say, win or lose, after running one is never the same. But I entered because of issues of social justice and intend to win because those issues are too important to come in second . . . especially in District 86.
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