The eighth Democratic presidential debate, hosted by Univision, takes place tonight, Wednesday, March 9, 2016 at Miami Dade College in Miami, Florida. This is the third meeting between the candidates in just the last week. The debate airs at 9pm EST on Univision Network in Spanish and on CNN and Fusion Network in English. The Washington Post will also be livestreaming the event. After a disappointing lack of substantive discussion about veterans issues in this election cycle, will we finally hear from the candidates on veterans tonight?
Maria Elena Salinas (Univision) @MariaESalinas
Jorge Ramos (Univision) @JorgeRamosNews
Karen Tumulty (Washington Post) @KTumulty
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The race has picked up pace, with the Democratic candidates facing off in fifteen states last week. Last night, Sanders and Clinton both had significant wins, but Clinton still leads in the delegate count, 760 to Sanders’ 476. Tonight’s debate occurs just four days before Florida’s critical primary on March 15.
Home to approximately 1.6 million veterans, Florida has one of the largest veteran populations in the U.S., comprising 10 percent of its voting age population. The Florida electorate is also older than the U.S. average of 76 percent, with nearly 80 percent of the general population voting age eligible.
State lawmakers are standing up for veterans in Florida, but will the candidates? Will they they join local Congressman Jeff Miller in pledging to keep VA Secretary Bob McDonald in place to provide stability at the embattled agency as administrations change?
Veterans were mentioned in the last Democratic debate, with Bernie Sanders defending his record on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, though significant concerns have been raised about his tenure as chairman.
And ahead of Florida’s primary next week, Clinton seems to have realized how influential the state’s veteran population is. Her campaign is hosting a series of veteran and military town halls across Florida. Brig. Gen. John Douglass, Rear Adm. Michael Smith, Maj. Gen. Rick Olson, Lt. Gen. Claudia Kennedy and U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown will serve as hosts of the town halls, with Jon Murray, Clinton’s National Director of Veterans and Military Families Outreach, as moderator.
Read more about the candidates positions as well the issues IAVA wants them to prioritize for our members via “IAVA Votes.”