Congressional candidates gather for issues forum

- Candidates for three Central Florida congressional districts came together for a forum on the key issues in their respective districts and the nation.

Hopefuls for Districts 7, 9 and 10 gathered at the Orlando Science Center for the free event, which was sponsored by AARP Florida, the League of Women Voters of Florida, the Orlando Sentinel and FOX 35.

Democratic candidates for District 7 include incumbent U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy and Chardo Richardson. The Republicans are Mike Miller, Scott Sturgill and Vennia Francois.

Democratic candidates for District 7 include incumbent U.S. Rep. Darren Soto and former congressman Alan Grayson.  Republican Wayne Liebnitzky is an unopposed Republican.

District 10 features a race between Democrats U.S. Rep. Val Demings, the incumbent and Wade Darius.  

Grayson, Sturgill and Francois did not attend the event.  

All candidates seemed to be in agreement that the Trump administration’s proposal for offshore drilling off Florida was a bad idea, and they favored statehood for Puerto Rico and greater cooperation in Washington.

The conversation focused mostly on hot topics like the minimum wage, health care, immigration reform and gun control.

"I believe that we as a community can work together to find common ground and ensure that Second Amendment rights can be protected while keeping our community safe," said Rep. Murphy, who touted who bipartisan efforts on Capitol Hill.

"Keeping guns out of the hands of terrorists, criminals and other dangerous people has nothing to do with out Second Amendment rights," Rep. Demings added.  "I take this issue personally. Every child has the right to go to school and not be gunned down at place that should be safer than their homes... so I will continue to work to keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have them." 

On the topic of immigration, Rep. Soto said, "The solution isn't a dark ages, medieval wall.  It's having sensors, it's having fencing where necessary, it's using 21st century technology to have border awareness."

"It is a non-partisan thing to be an American and it is a non-partisan thing to love America and want to be in America legally, so I think whether it's a 21st century circumstance, whether it's 'build the wall' conversation we hear a lot on the national stage, we must secure the border first," said Miller. 

The primary is Aug. 28.

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