Following Parkland Mayor Christine Hunschofsky’s decision to run for Florida House Seat 96, Parkland citizens prepare to vote for their new mayor on Tuesday, Nov. 3. The candidates consist of two current city commissioners: Stacy Kagan and Rich Walker. This debate was held virtually due to COVID-19 on October 6, 2020
While it is very important for voters of all ages to know exactly who they will be electing this November, Parkland has proven that it is especially important for the younger generations to be informed as well.
Both Kagan and Walker have or have had children enrolled at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
“It is safe to say that the candidates have a good understanding of what students in Parkland want and need,” senior Hayley Betancourt said.
In a virtual debate, Commissioner Kagan said that she has not stopped volunteering at schools, including mentoring MSD’s DECA programs. In addition to this, she communicated that she strongly believes in offering scholarships and paid internships to the students.
“I want a mayor who is compassionate and eager to listen to every resident. Douglas students want to be heard and the mayor of Parkland needs to be able to give a voice to everyone,” junior Maegan Pierre said.
During the same debate, both contenders attempted to make it abundantly clear that their priorities lie in giving a voice to all, not just those eligible to vote.
“One of the things we need to do is make sure that every resident has a voice. I speak to all the residents…whether it’s on the fields, whether it’s at the schools…we need to make sure we’re one community going in one direction, and every person must have a voice,” Kagan said in the debate.
Another topic touched on in the debate that hits close to home for MSD students is safety. This topic also provoked questions regarding the training of the Broward Sheriff’s Office.
Kagan is strong in her belief that in order to combat safety issues, we must not defund the police, but rather retrain and reeducate them. She also assures that as mayor she will establish teams, boards and focus groups where the community members can voice their safety concerns.
Walker’s ideas elaborate on the concept of moral education. He believes that in order to overcome the obstacles of safety and controversy over the police force as a whole, we must teach everyone, starting with our children, to celebrate the diversity that is present in our community.
“I’ve heard my dad talk about [Commissioner] Walker. I don’t know much about his agenda specifically, but from what I’ve heard he really cares for the city and its residents,” junior Kylie James said.
At the end of the day, when it comes down to the impact this election will have on MSD students, both nominees have conveyed their goals towards giving the students a voice and keeping them safe.