MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FL — In the 2020 election, Miami voters will choose the winner of the U.S. House of Representatives District 24 congressional race. Republican Lavern Spicer, Democrat Frederica Wilson and Independent Christine Alexandria Olivo are vying for the role.
How to vote
As the Nov. 3 election approaches, Miami-Dade County voters can submit their ballots at early voting locations and at drop-off boxes through Sunday. They can also vote at their local voting precinct on Election Day.
If voting in person, either early or on Nov. 3, voters must bring a current and valid ID with their name, photo and signature. Find a full list of acceptable IDs here.
Vote-by-mail ballots must be received by 7 p.m. Election Day. Though it’s too late to send them using the U.S. Postal Service, they can be dropped off at any early voting location Sunday or at the Supervisor of Elections office on Tuesday. Find a list of early voting locations here. The deadline to request a vote-by-mail ballot has passed.
If you choose to vote in person on Nov. 3, you can look up your voting precinct online here. For your vote to count, you must vote in the precinct in which you reside. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day.
Meet the candidates
Miami Patch recently sent out questionnaires to learn more about who these candidates are and where they stand on local issues. Below are the submitted responses.
For 25 years, Lavern Spicer has served as CEO of Curley’s House of Hope, Inc., which she founded. She also holds a cosmetology license through Miami-Dade College. She lives in Miami with her husband, Arthur.
The single most pressing issue facing our (board, district, etc.) is _______, and this is what I intend to do about it.
Spicer: Congressional District 24, is wrenched with nothing but poverty and despair. When I am elected as the new congresswoman, I will be my plan to attack this problem with legislation that enforces our economic opportunity laws known as P.L. 88-452, 92-424, 93-644 thru 95-568. In addition, I would also like to propose legislation that addresses the district’s lack of affordable housing, gentrification and small business funding within the inner-city areas.
What are the critical differences between you and the other candidates seeking this post?
Spicer: The differences between me and my opponents, I am the only candidate running with over 30 years of experience feeding, clothing and actually caring for those persons needing food and various other resources. I am the only candidate in my race who started a non-profit group called Curley’s House of Hope Inc. Curley’s House of Hope Inc. is known throughout the county as a food bank that provides services to the poor and needy throughout District 24 and Miami Dade County.
If you are a challenger, in what way has the current board or officeholder failed the community (or district or constituency)?
Spicer: Congresswoman Wilson has never protected poor people or stakeholders living in District 24 from those civil rights violations known to us as gentrification. She has created greater pools of poverty by allowing county and city governments to escape accountability and fairness with those resources that should be given to every American living throughout District 24. She has also allowed poor low-income communities to be erased by the creation of these county’s HUD RAD Program known as Liberty Square Rising, which allows private developers to take federal lands without the proper land transferences and or permissions. This alleged public housing scheme has breed unmeasurable corruptions at the highest levels of our federal governments and state governments.
Describe the other issues that define your campaign platform.
Spicer: My campaign is the voice that fights for all of the people in the district. My campaign is the match that ignites alleged political scheming and exposes public corruption existing in the district.
What accomplishments in your past would you cite as evidence you can handle this job?
Spicer: As a CEO of a large non-profit organization and food bank. I am responsible for hiring employees from within the district and for creating a number of administrative policies that help with the food distributions and necessary resources distributed within poorer communities throughout Miami Dade County.
Why should voters trust you?
Spicer: I believe voters should trust me because I am no stranger to the district. I have lived all my life working and helping people who needs food distribution services and or the necessary aid to help themselves and family members. I have an established 30 years tracked record and voters should trust me because as a woman of faith, I always deliver on my promises and I have never made promises that I do not intend to keep.
If you win this position, what accomplishment would make your term in office as a success?
Spicer: If I win, I want to accomplish being a voice for poor people and senior citizens. I want to continue the work that many Republican congress members started over 100 years ago tirelessly identifying those resources by which poor communities need to survive.
What are your views on fiscal policy, government spending and the handling of taxpayer dollars in the office you are seeking?
Spicer: For the last 30 years this district has been sold out by our congressional representative and due to all of the gentrification and poverty, there have been nothing but waste and mismanagement of our tax dollars.
Do you support Black Lives Matter and what are your thoughts on the demonstrations held since the death of George Floyd and the shooting of Jacob Blake?
Spicer: No, I do not support BLM. I see this group as a terrorist organization. In years to come the group’s illegal actions would be viewed as destroying black communities race relationships with the police.
What are your thoughts on the campaign to “defund” the police?
Spicer: I do not support defunding the police and I believe America should be a nation supporting the rules of law and for the enactment of good policing policies for the safety of our citizens.
What are your thoughts on the state and national response to the coronavirus pandemic? Do you favor such measures as limiting operation of non-essential businesses or restricting indoor/outdoor dining? And do you favor a nationwide mask mandate?
Spicer: I think that President Trump and Vice President Pence did a good job with the China virus. I am in favor of put America back to work as well as supporting all businesses struggling during this pandemic. No, I do not support a nationwide mask mandate because masks can’t guarantee ending the spread of the coronavirus.
Is there any reason you would not serve your full term of office, other than those of health or family?
The best advice ever shared with me was:
Spicer: You can do all things through Christ.
What else would you like voters to know about yourself and your positions?
Spicer: Please give me an opportunity to continue serving people as your next congressional representative during early voting and the Nov. 3 general elections.
Learn more about Spicer at her campaign website.
Frederica Wilson did not submit responses to our questionnaire, but we’ve compiled some information about her.
Wilson has represented Florida’s 24th Congressional District since 2010. Prior to this, she was an educator, serving as an elementary school principal, according to her U.S. House web page. She went on to serve on the school board, as a state legislator and also founded the 5,000 Role Models of Excellence Project.
On her campaign website, she wrote, “During my time in Congress, I have been fighting for good, fair-paying jobs in safe environments for our workers; increased and better opportunities for our children; and safety, security, and prosperity in our communities. I am working hard both in Florida and in Washington, D.C., to advocate for us and to ensure that our voices are heard.”
Wilson also called herself a “voice for the voiceless,” a “lobbyist for the children,” “totally unbought and unbossed” and a “relentless fighter.”
According to her U.S. House website, she’s the ranking Democrat on the Education and Workforce Protections Subcommittee. Through this role, she introduced the American Jobs Act of 2013, a bill that promoted full employment and boosted workforce development.
She also introduced the Student Loan Borrower Bill of Rights, which is aimed to provide relief to student loan borrowers. She was also behind the Youth Corp Act of 2013, “which reconnects youth with education, the workforce and their communities.”
According to her website, Wilson has also sponsored legislation to reduce homeowners’ insurance premiums, protect foster children and defend Haitian women against gender-based violence. She also said that “her mantra” is “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs,” and hosts job fairs to connect Floridians with employers.
Learn more about Wilson at her campaign website.
According to Christine Alexandria Olivo’s website, her two biggest passions have been her faith and performing arts. She spent seven years in Los Angeles pursuing a career in the entertainment industry.
At the same time, found herself drawn to a more religious path. Through her church in California, she became involved in various ministries. Then, after Hurricane Katrina hit, she assisted with recovery efforts in Louisiana.
Once she returned to Miami, she has held roles as youth director for Holy Cross Lutheran Church and also served in AmeriCorps, working with inner city children and teaching parenting classes. She’s currently enrolled at Barry University pursuing a degree in public administration.
According to her campaign website, she calls for “immediate economic assistance and relief for families and small businesses.” She thinks unemployment benefits should continue during the pandemic and that each household should receive an additional $2,000 a month. She hopes to establish a universal basic income.
She calls for Medicare for all and a $15 minimum wage. She’s also an advocate for gun reform, calling for universal background checks. Criminal justice reform is needed as well, including an end to cash bail and the exploitation of prison labor.
Learn more about Olivo at her campaign website.