Jobs, education top priorities for special House election winner Bernardby George Bennett | August 26th, 2009
Final results from Tuesday’s District 84 election showed Democrat Bernard getting 60.5 percent against Riviera Beach Councilman and fellow Democrat Cedrick Thomas.
Turnout was 4.7 percent. In a special Senate election three weeks earlier, turnout in Palm Beach County was 4.9 percent.
Bernard, who takes office Sept. 22, will replace Priscilla Taylor, who stepped down in July when Gov. Charlie Crist appointed her to a Palm Beach County commission seat.
“The top, top priority is the workforce,” Bernard said today. He said he wants to work with groups such as the nonprofit Workforce Alliance to help District 84 residents become more competitive in the job market.
Bernard said he’d also like to get on a committee dealing with education and would seek to boost per-student spending.
Married with two young daughters, the 33-year-old Bernard is a business lawyer and president of a title company. He resigned Tuesday from the Delray Beach city commission after about one year in that post.
Bernard was appointed to the Delray Beach commission last year to fill a vacancy. He filed to run for the seat in March, but drew no opposition and was awarded a new term without an election.
So Tuesday’s House race was his first experience as a candidate.
“I was nervous. I’ve never been on the ballot,” Bernard said.
Bernard, who will be the only black member of Palm Beach County’s state House delegation, will represent a district that is about 54 percent black and 33 percent white. He lives outside the district now but plans to establish residency before taking office next month.