Florida State University’s College Democrats hosted a mayoral forum featuring County Commissioner John Dailey and his competitor, Dustin Daniels.
Both Dailey and Daniels served as Student Government Association president during their time at FSU. They have since carried their political skills far beyond the campus, and have been active in the Tallahassee community.
Dailey, a Tallahassee native, has served as Leon County commissioner for 12 years and believes that he is more than qualified to be his hometown’s next mayor.
“I am qualified and I have experience. I have a track record. I am prepared, and I want to be your next mayor,” Dailey said at the Oct. 18 forum.
Daniels is the former chief of staff for Mayor Andrew Gillum and is an adjunct professor at the FSU College of Social Sciences. Daniels has a new vision for Tallahassee and hopes to be able to achieve it as mayor.
“What I’m running on, is this idea that Tallahassee is on the brink of transitioning itself to a true 21st-century city that works for all people and not just some,” said Daniels.
As the forum went on, the candidates answered questions presented by the college Democrats, with the allotted time of two minutes per response and 30-second rebuttals against one another.
A few of the topics included Tallahassee becoming a sanctuary city, decriminalizing marijuana, crisis pregnancy centers, and quality of infrastructure.
The candidates offered different perspectives on some of the topics. It was easy to see the frustration on their faces but things remained respectful, and a rebuttal was only given when necessary.
Giovanna Garcia is a sophomore dual major at FSU. She also serves as the political affairs director for the FSU College Democrats.
“I think we really need to prioritize local elections practically in the mid-term elections because people do not know the importance of electing good accountable candidates,” said Garcia. “They both present really progressive platforms, and as a progressive organization that’s something we appreciate.
“I was particularly interested in their support for sanctuary city status for the city of Tallahassee,” she added.
Jasmine Ali, a candidate for Leon County Commission District 1, was at the forum. She is also an FSU student.
If elected she will be the youngest person of color ever elected in the state of Florida.
“It was so important for this event to be hosted, because our students right now are going to be the deciding factor in our upcoming elections, and it's important that they’re able to make an informed vote,” said Ali.
Ali added that she thinks both Dailey and Daniels are great candidates, and either way this race goes Tallahassee will be good.
The forum ended with the candidates and the audience coming together for a group picture.