By Ywana Allen
Several candidates in the upcoming Northeast Florida primary election joined member agencies at the monthly general membership meeting on Thursday August 11th at First United Methodist Church as members posed vital questions about the priority and allocation of state and federal funding, and the need for better mental healthcare in the community. In attendance were Leslie Jean-Bart, Candidate for State Representative – District 14, David Bruderly, Candidate for U.S. Representative – District 4, Charlie Cofer, Candidate for Public Defender – 4th Judicial Circuit, Reggie Fullwood, Incumbent Candidate for State Representative – District 13, Lashonda L.J. Holloway, Candidate for U.S. Representative – District 5, and Gracie Bell McCastler, Candidate for State Representative – District 14.
- Candidate Jean-Bart acknowledged that money is often tight and waiting lists add to frustration of member agencies. Solutions are identified but resources are needed, which she’ll support if elected. http://www.voteforleslie.com/
- Candidate Bruderly expressed that issues of criminal justice, like drugs, at federal level, put homeless issues back on front burner. http://www.bruderly.com/meet-dave
- Candidate Cofer stressed that coordination between stakeholders to find solutions is ideal and attainable with relationships and the attitudes necessary to tackle homelessness. http://www.votecofer.com/
- Candidate Fullwood stated that in order to end homelessness, having one voice is ideal, advocacy is important, and establishing relationships with legislators is essential. http://www.reggiefullwood.com/
- Candidate Holloway emphasized that a government is only as strong as its people. Engagement in the process and advocacy are important as well as healthcare, housing and criminal justice reform. http://lj4congress.com/
- Candidate McCastler stated that the key is to advocate and appropriate more funds for the homeless and to educate law enforcement on the issue.
A community health update on mosquito-borne illnesses was also presented by Haley Zachary, Surveillance Epidemiologist for the Florida Department of Health in Duval County. According to Zachary, August and September are peak months for mosquito-borne illnesses. The homeless are at a greater risk due to more time being spent outdoors compared to other segments of the population, and wipes and sprays are the best defense for prevention.
Resources & Media
Early voting takes place August 15th – 28th and primary election day is August 30th. For info visit the Duval County Supervisor of Elections website at http://www.duvalelections.com/. For info about mosquito-borne illnesses or to request a presentation for your organization, contact Charles Griggs, Director of External Affairs for the Florida Department of Health in Duval County at 904-253-1004 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Media coverage from the meeting can be found at http://news.wjct.org/post/northeast-florida-candidates-talk-homelessness-jacksonville-advocates.