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Local forum cancelled at last minute after Republican candidates refused to show up

Community members hoping for a moderated Q&A with candidates let down after Miami-Dade College calls off planned forum

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Oct. 13, 2016

Media contact: Elizabeth Fernandez, elizabeth.fernandez@seiufl.org954-652-9897

Kendall, FL — Just a month away from the election, community members were disappointed when a local political forum was cancelled after Republican candidates Frank Artiles, Michael Bileca and David Rivera decided not to show up. The forum, scheduled to take place from 6pm – 8pm on Oct. 12 at Miami-Dade Kendall Campus, would have featured candidates from State Senate District 40 and State House Districts 115 and 118.

Democratic candidate Dwight Bullard and independent candidate Mario Jimenez, both running for the highly competitive District 40 race, were eager to participate, as were House District 118 candidate Robert Asencio and House District 115 candidate Jeffrey Solomon, both Democrats. The forum had been a joint event planned by Miami-Dade College, Florida Immigrant Coalition, the Miami-Dade chapter of the Philip Randolph Institute and the South Florida Labor Council for Latin American Advancement.

“I went today to the candidate forum hoping to hear from the candidates themselves about why they should earn my vote,” said 25-year-old community resident Alexa Lubin. “I was pretty upset to get there and find out it was cancelled. It's disrespectful of the candidates that decided not to show up at the last minute to take my vote for granted."

Despite the fact that four candidates were more than willing to show up and speak to students and local residents, Miami-Dade College decided to cancel the event, apparently so they would not give any impression of partisanship. Organizers are working to reschedule the forum so that constituents can have the opportunity to interact directly with candidates and get informed before they vote.

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SEIU Florida represents over 55,000 active and retired healthcare professionals, public employees and property service workers in the state of Florida. SEIU members provide vital public services in Florida’s hospitals, nursing homes, public schools, community colleges, municipal and county governments, malls, and universities. With over 2.1 million members, SEIU is the fastest-growing union in North America.