By Bobeth Yates

MIAMI (CBSMiami) — A special election to fill late Representative Alcee Hastings‘ seat is just about one month away as four out of more than a dozen candidates vying for the seat came together Thursday night to debate some of the hot button issues.

They touched on topics ranging from international relations, the economy, to affordable housing.

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They even discussed the immigration crisis at the Del Rio, Texas border with Mexico.

“We need a comprehensive immigration policy, we need a policy where people could have a right to see how they can become full-fledged citizens,” said Fla. Sen. Perry Thurston.

Several candidates running to fill late Rep. Alcee Hasting’s Congressional District 20 seat took part in a debate on Sept. 30, 2021. (CBS4)

There are a total of 11 Democrats, two Republicans, one Libertarian and three independents, seeking to occupy the 20th Congressional District seat, which includes parts of Loxahatchee, Royal Beach Palm, West Palm Beach and Lake Park in Palm Beach County and parts of Fort Lauderdale, Miramar, and Pompano Beach in Broward County.

“It’s a critical election, it’s an election to replace someone who stood tall who fought hard,” said Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness. “My pledge is to bring everyone together across racial ethnic and social economic background to let everyone understand that if we lift those up that are at the lowest level, we create greatness for everyone.”

Rep. Omari Hardy touched on the affordable housing issue.

“It’s becoming an increasingly acute problem for working class people simply trying to put a roof over their heads. We need to make a multi trillion-dollar investment in affordable housing,” said Hardy.

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“If we don’t have a member of Congress right now who is going to push forward bold economic policy that incorporate our district and increase jobs and also increase small businesses then we might fall back behind forever so this is our moment to act,” said Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, CEO of Trinity Health Care Services.

The pandemic and the health care were also discussed.

“In my community the residents of District 20 have been adversely affected. We need to ensure that everyone has that healthcare,” said Sen. Thurston.

The Democratic Primary is November 2, 2021, and the General Election is January 11, 2022.

October 4, which is Monday, is the deadline to register to vote in the November Election.

The debate was sponsored by the Miramar Haitian-American Residents and Business Owners.

The late U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings (Source: CBS4)

Hastings, who served in the House since 1993, died of pancreatic cancer in April. He was 84.

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