Congressman Alcee Hastings on ‘Election Trends and What You Should Know When Considering a Run for Public Office.’
By Nelson Underdue
Congressman Alcee Hastings addressed a crowd on Saturday with advice on running for elected office. Hastings led a panel of four during a discussion at a session at the Women of Power Empowerment Conference, a celebration of the excellence of African American women. Black women of all ages descended upon the Bahia Mar beach resort in Fort Lauderdale for the conference. Entrepreneurs, attorneys, community leaders, and educators were just some of the over 200 women that attended the WOCEC, Information for the progression and empowerment of the attendees was offered in the form of sessions: workshops where a host presented information about a specific field of interest.
One such session took place in the Harbor Lights Hall of the Bahia Mar resort. Election Trends and What You Should Know When Considering a Run for Public Office was offered to women who may want to run for office or work a campaign in any capacity. A crowd of roughly 50 women listened closely as jewels of wisdom were bestowed upon them from Florida’s best and brightest, especially when it comes to campaigning.
Alcee Hastings is no stranger to running for office. His roller coaster of a campaign career includes a loss to former Florida governor Lawton Chiles in a race for the U.S. Senate in 1970. In 1993 he defeated Lois J. Frankel to earn the democratic nomination for the U.S. House of Representatives. He won the race in a landslide victory and has been serving the now 20th district of Florida ever since.
The Altamonte Springs native addressed the difficulty of running for office in today’s, more aggressive political climate. “Politicians are attacking one another more and more,” Hastings said. “You have to have extremely thick skin in this game. You have to have a bit of an ego too. Sometimes its difficult to take the [moral] high road when the other guy is dragging your name through the mud, but sometimes that’s what it takes to let the people know you’re the better candidate.”
The panel also included Tanya Brinkley, a county court judge for Miami-Dade County, Gloria Romero Roses a representative of Ruth’s List, a Florida organization focused on electing pro-choice, Democratic women to local office, and Pia Nargundkar, an associate at Anzalone Liszt Grove Research, where she provides messaging and targeting guidance to political campaigns and advocacy groups across the country,
After the session was over Hastings was asked about the future of politics. Particularly about young people who may be qualified to lead but feel as though their leadership won’t bring change to their communities because of the undermining of politicians by big business and special interest groups. “They’re wrong.” he replied with a smile. “Leadership can affect change. I’ve fought upstream lots of times, you just have to get involved. From the church to the civic organization, if you want to beat the establishment you have to out work the establishment.”
Nelson Underdue Jr. is a 26 year old student at Miami Dade College. He is a Mass Communications major and has a passion for discovery and writing about the world he explores. He is a native of Miami hailing from the Brownsville neighborhood of Northwest Miami-Dade. The only child enjoys playing video games, listening to music, and writing poetry.