The race for the Leon County Commission District 1seat is coming to a quite a climax. Jasmine Ali, a senior at Florida State University studying political science, is challenging longtime incumbent Bill Proctor.
With a little over a week before the Nov. 6 election, the National Pan-Hellenic Council, the NAACP and the Tallahassee Barristers hosted Thursday’s 2018 candidate forum at New Mt. Zion AME Church.
Each candidate was asked questions gathered from online sources and audience members.
Proctor, who began teaching political science at Florida A&M University in 1986, emphasized the work he has done for the community. He said he has delivered “more than a billion dollars in infrastructure” to the south side district he represents.
Ali stressed the community’s need for change and “someone who proactively works with members of the community.”
Responses from each candidate prompted outbursts from the crowd, indicating the strong support system each candidate enjoys.
The candidates differing closing statements summarized their theme of all their previous responses.
“I am thankful and grateful for the years you have offered me,” said Proctor. “I’ve been working for the people, the south side, and I’m not tired yet.”
Ali used her passionate closing statement to leave attendees thinking. “It’s time that our community has change. It’s time our community is able to walk outside and see tangible progress,” said Ali. “My opponent has sat on the county commission throughout the creation and cultivation of the CRA (Community Redevelopment Agency).
“We’ve seen how the last 20 years have gone. Do you want another 20 years? Can we handle another 20 years? Quite honestly, the answer is no,” Ali added.
The forum ended on a high note, with Commissioner Proctor commenting on the wonderful crowd and excellent questions.
Jazmine Alexander, a Ph.D. student at FAMU, was impressed by the young Ali’s performance.
“Jasmine Ali did an excellent job of addressing all the questions that were given to her,” said Alexander.
Willie Williams, a community advocate and FAMU alum, shared similar sentiments.
“They both brought up some pretty good points. One of the things that really touched me and hammered home was when Miss Ali brought up the time frame Commissioner Proctor has been in office, and compared that to the progress that the area has made,” said Williams.
“It’s always good to listen to people’s perspective. I am thoroughly impressed with her (Ali) coming in and challenging someone like Bill Proctor.”