At a small Mediterranean restaurant at the corner of Orange Blossom Trail and Sand Lake Road Wednesday night, another candidate for the District 1 County Commission race threw her hat into the ring: Orlando resident and University of Florida graduate Nuren Haider.

The Maraya Restaurant, where the event was held, was beautifully adorned with glass pottery, ornaments, art and traditional Mediterranean food. In her speech to the audience at 7 p.m., Haider said she was “a mother, a wife, a daughter, a lawyer, and an Orange County resident – just like all of you.”

She went on to say she would be dedicated to making life better for all residents of Orange County, and then outlined how she would do that.

“We need to improve transportation options,” she said. “We need to work on improving sidewalks and improving bike paths. We need to get quality housing for people of all incomes, so they can remain in their neighborhoods even when their housing needs change.”

According to her website, Haider was born in Omaha, Nebraska, but her family moved to Orange County when she was five months old, where she lived for most of her life. She went to school in Orange County and attended college at the University of Florida, coming out with a B.A. in political science and minors in business administration and education.

Local activist Tiffany Namey, who is acting as Haider’s assistant campaign manager, said she thought people would respond positively to Haider’s message.

“People want the establishment broken,” she said. “They want new faces, new ideas. They’ll hear her progressive ideas.”

Namey said the first time she saw Haider, she looked at her in awe and thought “here is a woman who is strong, and here is a woman who is brave.”

Russell Drake, president of the Orange County chapter of the Democratic Black Caucus of Florida, was in attendance, and he said he thought Haider was hitting all the right boxes so far as democratic views go.

“I think she’s a fresh face and one that evokes diversity overall,” he said. “She’s highly educated and a good example for the youth. She’s bringing good liberal ideas.”

Haider said her candidacy was motivated by a simple desire to do good in her community.

“If you have the belief that you can help people,” she said. “Then you should do so.”

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