With the general election taking place in less than two weeks, candidates throughout the Keys have been peppering the media, mailboxes, and yards with political signage and messages. 

This past Monday night, the Weekly Newspapers joined with the Greater Marathon Chamber of Commerce to host the Middle Keys Candidate Forum. In case you missed it, the forum will be rebroadcast at 5 pm on Comcast channel 76 on October 22, 24, and 29.

The video is also available by surfing to www.monroecounty-fl.gov, and clicking “Video On Demand.”

We are not going to embellish the sordid tales of the event, but the candidates for State Representative, County Commission, and Marathon City Council fielded tough questions courtesy of the Chamber’s Community Affairs Committee. Please check it out for yourself and become and informed voter. Each race holds a choice – the cornerstone of the democratic process.

For those reading this editorial, you recognize the importance of exercising voting rights and we assume you have already made up your mind on which candidate would represent your best interests over the next two to four years.

The State Representative race features incumbent Democrat Ron Saunders and Republican challenger Morgan McPherson. Saunders, a senior member of the House with 12 years of legislative experience, said, “We need someone in Tally with experience who can get the job done. I’ve done it and been recognized for my efforts.”

Former Key West Mayor Morgan McPherson is looking toward a Republican controlled legislature to help push for decentralization of education and healthcare.

On the county level, three term County Commissioner George Neugent (R) faces Lower Keys spiritualist and blogger Sloan Bashinsky. Neugent bases his arguments on infrastructure and policy on fact and experience while Bashinsky admits his ideas are hatched because “the angels provoke me to keep provoking.”

The District 2 race for County Commission is comprised of three candidates with former political experience. Republican David Rice is a former County Commissioner and founder of the Middle Keys Guidance Clinic with a proven track record for defending the Florida Keys against rampant development.

He faces two challengers with no political party affiliation.

Don Vasil is a small business owner and former Vice Mayor and councilman for the city of Marathon. During his tenure Vasil was known as a budget buster with a keen eye on city spending.

Hailing from the Upper Keys, Mike Forester is another small business owner who served one term on the Islamorada Council. His platform is based on legalizing downstairs enclosures and halting progress on the centralized sewer until the state or feds appropriate funds.

In the city of Marathon, three open seats are up for grabs between five candidates. More on them in next week’s issue along with more candidate profiles and referendum explanations that will enable you to make an informed decision at the ballot box.

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