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Women’s groups host Tallahassee mayoral debate, focusing on issues affecting women and girls

A man in a suit and open collar and a woman with long hair gesturing with her right hand have microphones in front of them, and to their left a woman wearing glasses is standing, holding a pencil
Margie Menzel
(L-R: Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey and Leon County Commissioner Kristin Dozier discuss issues that affect women and girls, moderated by Vicki Bradley, WTXL News Director

Ten women’s organizations hosted a mayoral candidate forum Monday night on issues of importance to women and girls. Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey and Leon County Commissioner Kristin Dozier took questions on issues such as domestic violence, human trafficking and child care.

The forum was hosted by groups including the Commission on the Status of Women & Girls, the Domestic Violence Coordinating Council, the Junior League, the Oasis Center for Women & Girls and the Survive & Thrive Advocacy Center.

So the candidates answered many questions specific to women. But as in every forum for these and other office-seekers, the questioners wanted to hear their answers on the pervasive housing shortage.

Dailey says the city has been making great strides.

“We had a meeting today that was joint with the county. I am proud of the work that we’ve been doing,” he said. “We actually have more units in the mix to be built right now than we’ve had for the past four decades combined. So we’re moving forward. We took some great strides today with some proposed policy to include rental housing and rental assistance when we talk about low-income and inclusionary housing. That’s still soon to come, which is very exciting.”

Dozier says transitional housing for single mothers is crucial to any solution.

“But that safe, transitional housing…helping women get access to the services they need and then to someplace temporary to find a place that’s more stable and safe to live…I think that’s a really critical need,” she said. “And with partnerships, we may access more funding at the state and federal level, and that could perhaps come through homelessness prevention funding, not just affordable housing funding. So we need to get really creative with these solutions.”

The women’s groups sponsoring the forum will follow up with another one Thursday with candidates for the three open Leon County Commission races.

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.