Four Democrats Face-Off In State House District 93 Race

Florida Capitol-Eblast

Photo: Getty Images

With redistricting, a Florida House district has moved up from Broward County into a portion of West Central Palm Beach County.

Four candidates are running in a Democrat Primary for the new District 93.

Shelly Albright is the Director of Children and Youth Ministries at a Wellington church. She's also volunteered with a number of organizations. One of her priorities is to get better pay for teachers.

"We've done a good job at raising the salary for our new incoming teachers. We've put a state mandate in place to raise the salary to $47,500. So our ranking has gone from like number 30 to 16 for our new teachers, but our experienced teachers are still ranked at 48 out of the 50 states for the salaries that they earn."

Fellow candidate Seth Densen is a social worker at a local hospital and says his whole career has been in social services. He also has concerns about teacher pay.

"For me, I propose that teacher salaries should start at a minimum of $55,000 per year. We need to have liveable wages for our educators."

Densen also wants to see school funding picked up in other areas, including mental health.

"One social worker or one mental health counselor is not enough for the amount of hundreds of kids that are in each school, so I think there needs to be at least a minimum of two or three perhaps in each school. Maybe making also telehealth more available in public schools as well."

Three of the four candidates in the Democrat Primary have never run for elected office before, including Tom Valeo. But he says he's spent plenty of time working as a legislative assistant to Matt Willhite, who is currently serving in a House District that covered a portion of District 93 prior to reapportionment.

"(I) worked closely to Rep. Willhite to pass about 23 pieces of legislation and get millions of dollars into the budget."

Willhite is running for the County Commission.

Valeo does some substitute teaching at his alma mater, Wellington High School. He applauds what Florida did in response to the Parkland school shooting, but wants more done including a proposal from Fred Guttenberg, the father of one of the victims at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High.

"It would be background checks on the purchase of ammunition. I believe that would've helped prevent the Uvalde massacre that we just saw. I think it's a reasonable bill that is filed every year and I would support that because I think it would just continue to help keep our schools and our communities safer."

The fourth candidate in this race is Port of Palm Beach Commissioner Katherine Waldron who was first elected to the seat in 2017.

"Being from DC I've always been sort of involved in politics and involved in my community so I ended up becoming friends with a lot of elected officials who encouraged me to run, especially with my business background. I was an executive at Sprint and before that at Nortel."

Like Valeo, Waldron also wants more gun laws in Florida.

"We need better gun control. We need to improve red flag rules or laws. We need to close the loophole on gun transfers at guns shows."

The winner of the primary will face Republican, Dr. Saulis Banionis in November.

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content