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Jobs, education top priorities for special House election winner Bernard

by George Bennett | August 26th, 2009

Bernard: first-time candidate got 60.5 percent

Bernard: first-time candidate got 60.5 percent

Coming off a decisive win in a special state House election Tuesday, Mack Bernard said he wants to work on education issues and on improving the job skills of residents in his district.

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.

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2 Responses to “Jobs, education top priorities for special House election winner Bernard”

  1. Jim Guinnessey Says:

    So happy that Mack Bernard won the special election to the state senate seat for District 84. Bernard, who I met and with whom I had some conversation last Sunday at the Cafe Centro in West Palm Beach, is a very intelligent, progressive and well-informed young man. I wish him well and know he will do what is needed for our district.

  2. Michael Says:

    I work for a company named Sallie Mae. Sallie Mae is a lender and processor of student loans located in Lynn Haven, Florida and employes up to 700 people. Lynn Haven is a moderately small town with a population of approximately 15,300. Congress is currently considering a law that would take away those jobs by having the Federal Government take over the student lending process. There is an alternative to Congress wiping out the livelihoods of so many families in a small Florida town. A petition is being put forth to the Florida representatives at in an effort to try to save Florida jobs. The alternative plan proposed would not only save jobs for hundreds of families but would also create a more competitive marketplace for loans.

    We need your help. Please take a moment and sign the petition. It is critical that we express to our elected officials the need to keep Florida jobs in Florida.

    All politicians throughout Florida need to concern themselves with the job losses this state has and continues to incur. How much more unemployment can this state endure?

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