copyright © 2010 Betsy L. Angert. BeThink.org
”I don’t really want to stop the show,
But I thought that you might like to know,”
That the choice becomes clearer.
“So let me introduce to you
The one and only” Carole Kaye, Candidate for Florida House District 86
Local Election Days are upon us. For months now candidates for elected office have roamed their regions. Everyday people have had ample opportunity to meet, greet, and yes, even eat a meal with aspirants. Often, one challenger’s name is better known. He or she may be an incumbent, or closely associated with one. Consider the Florida House race in District 86. Dissimilar Democratic candidates Carole Kaye and Lori Berman appear on the ballot. Who are these office seekers? What will they do for my community, commerce, our children, and me? Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, and parts of Boca Raton constituents, who have not made politics their lives, search for answers as they travel to the polls.
Citizens are inundated with “information.” Posters dot the landscape. Banners fly on Boulevards. Constituents don pins and place placards on their lawn. Windows and automobile bumpers have not escaped unscathed. Today, the message heard on avenue is “The time is now.” Indeed, it is. Early voting began on August 9 and will continue through August 22, 2010. In Florida, while technically Primary Election Day is August 24, 2010, in reality it is today. In Palm Beach County House District 86, Primary Election Day is the final deciding date. Democrats with different styles compete for state House 86 seat. There is no Republican challenger in this race. The winner of the Primary will represent South Palm Beach County communities. Yet, many people do not feel equipped to decide. Whom might I cast a ballot for, the much lauded Lori Berman or the lesser known, highly qualified, Attorney, Educator, and person who for years has shared and cared for my backyard, Carole Penny Kaye.
Bit of Background
Perchance a bit of background might help me, the voter, more than the hype. For a Democratic aspirant, a District with an overwhelmingly Democratic constituency can be quite attractive. Fifty-four  percent of the people who reside in District 86 are registered Democrats, However, this was not the reason Carole Kaye decided to run for public office in the region. This territory was and is her home. From the first, and throughout her life, Ms Kaye has personified a commitment to her community.
After college, she became a Teacher. One score and five years later, Carole Kaye returned to the classroom, this time as a student. Kaye capably completed her law degree. Since then she has served as an Immigration Attorney. Ms Kaye, through her skills, and abilities gives voice to persons who are guaranteed due process rights by the United States Constitution. Carole Kaye believes the rights of her clients must be protected; that calling is her greatest responsibility. As a Representative she will see herself as a civil servant. Ms Kaye also affirms that, if elected, the populace she represents will be her principal priority.
Lori Berman, by contrast, is a non-practicing attorney. Originally, Ms Berman entered the race in her home District, 87. Republican challenger Bill Hager also sought the peoples’ vote in that region. However, a window opened. Maria Sachs, who had represented District 86, declared herself a candidate for the State Senate seat vacated by Ted Deutch, Ms Berman’s friend and one-time employer. Hence, Ms Berman slammed the door to District 87 shut. As Lori Berman recounts, at the request of her well-connected acquaintance, Representative Kevin Rader, a Delray Beach Democratic legislator, she chose to abandon her plans and run for the seat in District 86. Thus, the now 86th District hopeful, Berman, left her home community and the campaign she began behind. The opportunity in the new district was hard to refuse.
Ms Berman, an abundantly funded one-time Legislative Aide to former United States. Representative Robert Wexler and to his successor, Ted Deutch, understood that in a region where only 21 percent of registered voters are Republicans and 23 percent are without a party affiliation, she has an enhanced chance. The likelihood of a win in this locality was thought far better than it might have been in the race she fled. Soon, Lori Berman will know whether her bet paid off.
Carole Kaye will also learn; is this the year that people take back their elections, or will politicians again exert their power? Will ample contributions and connections trump a genuine commitment? Only citizens can decide.
Candidates. Campaigns. Community and Commitment.
During the course of the campaign each candidate spoke to fellow Democrats on the issues of import. Berman and Kaye put out position pages and papers. These too reflect the disparity, the difference between these candidates and the variance in their dedication.
Each has identified them selves as a grassroots campaigner. However, even a local periodical which endorses Ms Berman questions this truth. The Palm Beach Post points to Lori Berman’s well-established network of politicos. Many on Ms Berman’s list of impressive backers are powerful persons with whom the candidate associated with professionally.
Carole Kaye also has gathered and accepted endorsements. The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance officially stated the organization stands with Carole Kaye and her candidacy. Democracy for America’s Palm Beach County affiliate, and the United Haitian American Democratic Club also offered formal statements of support. The acknowledgement of these also reflects what is real. Carole Kaye connects to a broad group of persons in her District. She takes every opportunity to express her appreciation for her community as she did just days ago.
As was true for other local hopefuls, Ms Kaye was given an opportunity to seek an endorsement from the Palm Beach County Chapter of Democracy for America. The District 86 Democrat participated fully in a comprehensive evaluation process.
Hopefuls were first seen and heard at many neighborhood candidate forums. Those who were thought viable Democrats received announcements from DFA. Aspirants were asked if they would wish to submit a required application for endorsement. Respondents were also given survey questions to answer.. Also, exhaustive interviews were mandated. After all the criterion was met, assessments were made.
More than satisfied with candidate Carole Kaye’s performances and positions, the Chapter then offered their official statement of support. Ms Kaye was thusly invited to publicly meet, greet, and eat with DFA members. At this dinner meeting, she would have an opportunity to accept her endorsement, Humbly she agreed to appear. On that occasion, Kaye stood in front of dedicated Democrats and offered her thanks.
There are many things that I am grateful for in this race for the State House. I am most grateful that I have not been compromised by the process. I am grateful that I am firm enough in my positions to withstand the seduction of interest group endorsements and the promise of their donations, I am blessed by the strangers who have become friends and supporters, and I am comforted by the understanding of all who I meet who know, first hand, how difficult it is to run as an outsider in a county where democracy is not always practiced.
I have been asked to leave the race, threatened for staying in. As they say, win or lose, after running one is never the same. But I entered because of issues of social justice and intend to win because those issues are too important to come in second . . .especially in District 86.
I am thrilled that it is the voters who make the decision of who will serve…regardless of how the process is manipulated. The district belongs to those who live in it. As a resident of District 86, I intend to serve with great respect for the needs of those who live in my backyard.
I am in this race to win; therefore, I must acknowledge the members of Democracy for America for their treasured endorsement. Their confidence in me literally made my heart sing. In the face of so much opposition, DFA’s belief in me gave me the courage to continue to fight. Because the principles of the group are so close to my own, I am proud that the recognition was strong and unwavering. I am proud to be the true progressive in my race, to not be, once elected, beholden to any special interest group, set of elected officials or party ideology. I believe that everyone must have a voice in our democracy. That ideal will serve as the guiding principle of my term as State Representative for District 86.
Thank you Hillary and Tom and to all the members of DFA. You have given me the greatest gift—the gift of trust. I will not disappoint.
Given a chance, those in attendance had faith that Carole Kay would be true to her word. Countless constituents authentically believe the choice has become clear. A candidate committed to the people is far preferable to one who is but another Party loyalist, lobbyist for professional politicians, and partisan who carries the same old pail.
Still, there are the many who have not had the time or energy to peruse the periodicals, to probe the candidates’ perspectives, or to authentically assess other than what is seen on the streets. Elections have begun and so too might we. People at this event, and others who were able to avail authentic information, today, could choose to do more than cast a ballot. We might speak to those who are undecided and unfamiliar with Carole Kaye or Lori Berman. Persons as devoted to a common cause could say, “Citizens who travel to the polls, may I introduce to you Carole Kaye, candidate for House District 86.”
Election Day and the Electorate
Now, we vote, with our hearts, our heads, and staunch determination to do what others think hard. We work. We watch. We wait for a novel truth; government of, by and for the people, not partisan promoters. We hold our collective breath or exhale; express our commitment to our community and Carole Kaye who shares our interests. As citizens throughout District 86 cast a ballot, we can do more than just hope that this overture did not arrive too late.
Please remember, in Palm Beach County numerous neighborhood polling places have been open for days. Tomorrow is another day. We can make this moment a new beginning. Least we forget, most who will go to the polls may have had little time to research, and read anything about the candidates, let alone this treatise. For them, the choice was not well defined. This introduction is offered as an opportunity to further refine your understanding of the choice presented in District 86 and spread the word. Contribute in whatever way you can. Volunteer. Take a friend to the polls. Make telephone calls. Chat with neighbor, or donate dollars.
The decision is yours, mine, and ours. By August 24, 2010 the decision will be made, the die cast. Carole Kaye can,, with your help, represent us in Florida House District 86., Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, and of Boca Raton. Let this elections begin with you.
References for a favorable reality; government of, by, and for the people . . .
- Florida Division of Elections State of Florida.
- Democrats with different styles compete for state House 86 seat. By Maria Herrera. Sun Sentinel. July 20, 2010
- Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections. State of Florida.
- Democratic primary to decide state House District 86 seat, By Lona O’Connor. Palm Beach Post. Saturday, July 17, 2010
- Florida gay leaders split in some races over endorsement process, By Steve Rothaus. The Miami Herald. July 30, 2010
- For state House, District 86: Berman, By Rhonda Swan. Palm Beach Post. August 13, 2010
- Attorney General hopeful Dave Aronberg among speakers at June PBCYD meeting at Brogues, By Carol Porter. Palm Beach Examiner. July 7, 2010
- Carole Kaye, Democrat for District 86
- Carole Kaye. First Speech.
- State District House Kaye Nets Local Endorsements. Believable Source., July 23, 2010
- Latest Endorsements. Lori Berman for Florida House.
- All Voters of Florida House District 86 Have a Choice in August Primary, Free Press Release. July 8, 2010
- Kaye Nets Local Endorsements. Free Press Release. July 23, 2010
- Lori Berman. Issues.
- Palm Beach County Chapter of Democracy for America.