Democratic House hopefuls make cases to Jacksonville crowd

Three challengers to Republican incumbents in Florida House Districts 12, 15, and 16 made their cases to voters during a citywide forum in Jacksonville.

Each of the candidates face long odds, either in terms of resources for the stretch run or the demographic lean of their districts.

But all of them decided to shoot their shots, and on Tuesday night, they said their piece at the Collective Voice Forum.

Emmanuel Blimie, running against Rep. Clay Yarborough in House District 12 on Jacksonville’s Southside, billed himself as the “no salary candidate.”

Blimie, a native of Liberia, offered a unique personal narrative, saying that “Spongebob Squarepants was his first English teacher,” as he learned the language from the cartoon.

When asked about issues relative to the St. Johns River, one of the policy topics, Blimie said “to sit down here and say I’m going to come up with a solution isn’t going to work.” He wants to talk to experts.

Tammyette Thomas, running against Rep. Wyman Duggan in Westside Jacksonville’s HD 15, billed herself as a “servant change agent.”

When asked about charter schools, Thomas said she wants the public education system to be fully funded, noting her participation in

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