On Wednesday night, candidates for Orlando City Council District 6 met to debate who would best to represent the area in the future, other than the incumbent, Commissioner Sam Ings .
Realtor Nathan Chambers, insurance agent Marcus Robinson, law professor Ka’Juel Washington, and activist Lawanna Gelzer were all present at the Hope Church.
Ings was nowhere to be seen.
Those candidates who bothered to attend began the discussion by listing individual qualifications, boasting their different levels of experience with city government.
Washington began by saying Mayor Buddy Dyer and City Attorney Mayeann Downs — both attorneys — were “pitbulls” surrounded by other legal “pitbulls.” He offered his legal expertise as the answer to their failed policies.
Each candidate then detailed why they were the right one for the job.
“This is what I’ve already been doing,” Gelzer said — referring to her activism. “I’m not going to be a rubber stamp for Buddy Dyer.”
Chambers’ spoke of a plan to create jobs, which would have him reach out to employers not only locally, but also outside the region.
Robinson would develop a resource center in the district, to help residents find jobs.
All of the candidates at the event support raising the minimum wage to $15 dollars or higher
Each then made the case for why they would be a better commissioner than Ings, with every one taking turns to criticize the incumbent on spending.
“He’s campaigning with our tax dollars,” Gelzer said, adding that Ings didn’t know how to keep a budget.
Robinson then blasted Ings, calling him the “invisible Commissioner.”
Chambers and Washington both offered alternatives on ways to spend money available to the office.
Among the more notable names in the audience were Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings, State Rep. Bruce Antone; candidates for Orlando Mayor Paul Paulson and Linda “Sunshine” Grund, and City Council District 4 candidate Randy Ross.
Also at the debate were supporters for Ings. Many were seen in front of the church, placing Ings’ signs in front of those for the other participants. When approached by debate organizer T.J Legacy Cole — who attempted to point out the proper procedures for campaign materials — they ignored his requests and entered the church.
When asked about Ing’s absence, as well as the behavior of his supporters, Cole quipped, “If his supporters and signs can be here, he can be here.”
Election Day is November 3.