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Seven candidates for Leon County Commission District 2 compete to replace the late Jimbo Jackson

Seven people with microphones sit at a long table
Lydell Rawls
WFSU Public Media
Seven candidates to replace the late the late Jimbo Jackson participate in a candidate forum at WFSU.

Seven candidates hope to represent District 2 on the Leon County Commission -- the seat that was represented by the late Jimbo Jackson. Margie Menzel reports.

It’s the largest field of candidates of any local race in this election cycle. In alphabetical order, they are Sabrina M. Allen, Lynda Bell, Christian Caban, Hannah Crow, Will Crowley, Max Epstein and Manny Joanos.

They covered a wide range of topics in a candidate forum hosted by WFSU, The League of Women Voters of Tallahassee and the Tallahassee Democrat.

That many candidates couldn’t agree on much. Here, for instance, are their takes on homelessness, in order of their remarks:

Lynda Bell:

"We have to take a holistic approach. You have to look at the whole problem. You can’t just throw money at it. You have to look at the mental health issues, you have to look at the drugs, the alcohol… Of course, there are parents who have economic homelessness, but a very, very strong, overwhelming majority have these issues, the underlying issues."

Christian Caban:

"I think as a county commission, our job should be to listen first, to the experts who are battling this every single day. I think we need to continue to make sure that they have the resources necessary to do their job. Additionally, I would like to propose a step-by-step process that’s first, empathetic… "

Hannah Crow:

"Inflation and Covid left many people one paycheck away from being in a situation they would have never dreamed of. So we need to work together, we need to partner with people that are experts, and we need to start coming to resolution a lot faster."

Will Crowley:

"I think our policies have focused on sweeping these people under the rug and hiding the problem rather than actually trying to do something about it. Poverty is not a moral failing. These people are our neighbors, and they’re our family, and we have the resources to do something about it -- we just lack the political will…"

Max Epstein:

"We know how to solve this problem. It’s time to fund it and get it done. And I also want to mention that mental health is an important issue, and I suffer from depression and anxiety, and I’d like to bring that to the commission, to be a representative."

Manny Joanos:

"There’s no doubt that District 2 has shouldered the burden of homelessness more than any other district. But it is an issue that all the districts -- the entire county -- needs to help address. It’s okay, it’s okay because we need to take care of folks and help them get back on the path."

And Sabrina Allen:

"We need to, and I would look at the mental health part of it. And the drug addiction part of it. That has to be addressed. Get these people jobs and affordable housing. Get them training… "

Perhaps the only thing all the candidates agreed on was that former Commissioner Jimbo Jackson, who died in May of complications from Covid-19, was a fine man and his death a loss to their community.

View this and all the other candidate forums.

Follow @MargieMenzel

Margie Menzel covers local and state government for WFSU News. She has also worked at the News Service of Florida and Gannett News Service. She earned her B.A. in history at Vanderbilt University and her M.S. in journalism at Florida A&M University.