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Candidates For Florida House 8th District Boast Strong Community Ties

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The candidates squaring off to be the House representative for the 8th District in parts of Leon and all of Gadsden County agree jobs and education should be a focus for whoever fills the seat. But they differ on how those goals should be accomplished.

Eigth District incumbent, Rep. Alan Williams (D-Tallahassee) says his record shows he’s been a staunch protector of jobs in the Leon and Gadsden County areas.

“I’ve been on the front lines protecting those jobs. When they tried to cut jobs at the hospital in Chattahoochee, I was there. When they tried to cut jobs within the state university system, I was there. Every year when we have a budget, now the budget chief brings me a sheet that shows me how many jobs will be cut or won’t be cut,” Williams says.

Williams says the difficulty the district is facing when it comes to attracting more jobs to the area stems from a lack of leadership in the governor’s office. But William’s opponent Dianne Williams-Cox says she hasn’t seen the results she’s wanted from Williams over the past six years he’s held the office.

“I don’t mean any disrespect by this, but if you’ve been riding a horse for six years and it hasn’t produced what you think it needed to produce, it may be time to change horses,” Williams-Cox says.

Williams-Cox adds she feels she has a unique connection with the district and can best represent the area’s demographics.

“I am District Eight. I live in the district. I pay taxes I the district. I raised my children in the district. We care for our grandparents here in the district. And I believe that I am the better voice to go and represent the district,” Williams-Cox says.

Williams got caught up in a scandal earlier this year when he faced accusations that he doesn’t actually live in his district. But Williams maintains he has deep roots in the area.

“I grew up on the South side of Tallahassee. I raised my family here. I went to school here. I’m educating my children here," Williams says.

Williams is one of several Democratic lawmakers who owned houses that got drawn out of their original districts when the legislature drew new maps. The rules for what it means for a legislator to live in his or her district are unclear. Lawmakers filed legislation to tackle the issue during the last legislative session, but the bill died.

Both candidates made their comments on WFSU’s public affairs call-in show, Perspectives.

Follow @Regan_McCarthy

Regan McCarthy is the Assistant News Director for WFSU Public Media. Before coming to Tallahassee, Regan graduated with honors from Indiana University’s Ernie Pyle School of Journalism. She worked for several years for NPR member station WFIU in Bloomington, Ind., where she covered local and state government and produced feature and community stories.

Phone: (850) 645-6090 | rmccarthy@fsu.edu

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