Alcee Hastings, a legendary politician, died of pancreatic cancer in April while in office. He had been a member of the House of Representatives since 1993, when he was elected to represent Florida’s 23rd congressional district, which includes parts of Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach counties. He served in that position until 2013, when he was elected to Florida’s 20th Congressional District, which includes Royal Palm Beach, Belle Glade, North Lauderdale, Plantation, parts of Pompano Beach, Delray Beach and Palm Beach. While Hasting’s legacy of civil and minority rights is could never be replaced, someone will have to take his seat next year. All registered and eligible voters are encouraged to vote on November 2, as it is the primary election and will decide who will be eligible to run against a Republican candidate to occupy Hasting’s seat on January 11, 2022 – the date Ron DeSantis, Florida’s governor, set for a special election. The seat represents a large black and minority community within Broward and Palm Beach Counties. Here we offer a brief introduction to the candidates seeking your vote in the race to represent Florida’s 20th Congressional District:
Bobby DuBose, 50, represents District 94 in the Florida House of Representatives serving Plantation, Lauderdale Lakes and parts of Oakland Park. He serves on the House Appropriations Committee, one of the most powerful committees which is tasked with spending the government’s money. He is a married father of four and the former vice mayor of the City of Fort Lauderdale. He graduated from the University of Florida, and is also a member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity.
Omari Hardy, 31, represents District 88 in the Florida House of Representatives serving Riveria Beach to Delray Beach. He is currently on the State Affairs Committee. He studied economics at the University of Miami and assumed office November 2020. Before that he was a City of Lake Worth Commissioner. He made headlines when he objected to shutting off electricity to residents behind on their bills early on during the coronavirus pandemic.
Dale Holness, 64, is a Broward County Commissioner who will forgo his seat in order to make a run for Congress. In 2010, Holness received Hastings’ endorsement to fill the county commission seat. Holness serves District 9, which includes Fort Lauderdale, Lauderdale Lakes, Plantation, Sunrise, Tamarac and more within central Broward County. Prior to his county seat, in 2004, he served as City of Lauderhill commissioner. His is a real estate agent and mortgage broker, who pushes for small business contracts, homeownership, tourism, criminal justice reform, job creation and training.
Sheila McCormick, 41, ran against Alcee Hasting’s twice for the primaries, once in 2018 where she secured 26% of the vote, and again in 2020, securing 31% of the vote. Her campaign was based on economic initiatives, job skills and training, and healthcare coverage. McCormick received her J.D. from St. Thomas University School of Law in 2010. She is also the CEO of Trinity HealthCare Services in Miramar, a home health company with over 500 employees. She is married with two children.
Barbara Sharief, 49, is a Broward County Commissioner who will forgo her seat to run for Hasting’s congressional seat. She represents District 8, which includes Miramar, Hallandale Beach, Pembroke Pines, and West Park. In 2013, she made history as the first Black mayor of Broward County. A few years before that in 2009, she was elected the vice mayor of the City of Miramar. She is a mother to three children, and a business woman. She founded South Florida Pediatric Homecare Inc., a home health care agency for adults and children in 2001. She received her doctorate of nursing in 2017. Her top priorities are affordable healthcare, homelessness solutions, small business and mentoring programs, and foreclosure relief.
Priscilla Taylor, 71, is a former state legislator and the first Black female mayor of Palm Beach County (2013-2014). From 2004 to 2010, she represented District 84 for the Florida House of Representatives, which includes Fort Pierce and parts of Port St. Lucie. She years of business experience in the insurance industry and has degrees from Barry University and Palm Beach Atlantic University. Taylor was a twice-elected member of the Commission of the Port of Palm Beach. During her tenure as Port Commissioner, she served as Chairwoman in both 2001 and 2003. She is divorced with two children.
Perry Thurston, 60, represents District 33 for the Florida Senate. This area includes Pompano Beach, North Lauderdale, Fort Lauderdale, Oakland Park, Tamarac, and other surrounding areas. He was elected to the Senate in 2016. Prior to that, he served on the House of Representatives from 2006 to 2014. He was born in Pompano Beach and attends Mount Calvary Baptist Church and is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. He studied undergrad at Morehouse College and graduated from University of Miami School of Law in 1987.
Vic Degrammont, 43, is first generation American from French Caribbean parents. He graduated from DeSales University with a degree in Management and Information Technology. He is an entertainer, a realtor, and a proud and loyal supporter of former President Trump. His campaign platform includes 24-hour child care, preserving the Everglades, helping veterans, reducing illegal immigration, and term limits.
Greg Musselwhite, 54, was the first candidate to file for Hastings’ seat (on the day he died). Musselwhite won the Republican primary last year in an attempt to unseat Hastings. He lost the general election in November. He is a welding inspector with an undergraduate degree from the University of South Alabama. He is pro-life and favors immigration reform and border control.
Bernard Sansaricq, 75, is a Haiti native and is the former President of the Senate in that country. He witnessed family members killed by an oppressive Haitian regime. He obtained citizenship in 2006. He champions the causes of human rights and economic security.
Michael ter Maat, 60, is a Broward County police officer since 2010. He worked with the White House Office of Management and Budget, and has an expertise in finance and economics. He is married with four children. He received a degree in aeronautical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a PhD in economics from George Washington University.