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Barbara Sharief, Lauren Book vying for District 35 spot

CBS News Live
CBS News Miami Live

MIAMI - The race is on for a spot in the Florida Senate. Senator Lauren Book and former Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief are vying for a spot to represent District 35 in Broward County.

CBS4 sat down with Barbara Sharief. You may know her as the first African American Mayor of Broward County.  She was also a commissioner for years.

"In my 13-year career span in terms of political life I've been working in Tallahassee, working in DC on issues like healthcare, homelessness, affordable housing, juvenile detention, youth incarceration," says Sharief.

Her opponent, Senator Lauren Book, was first elected in 2016. She's the founder of Lauren's Kids, a nonprofit with the goal of preventing child sex abuse.

Book says, "I will continue to fight to make sure children aren't secluded and restrained in their schools, that were working on affordability issues, that we're working to drive down property insurance, fighting to make sure a woman has a right to choose."

Both candidates say addressing the housing crisis and inflation are top priorities.

"Get a hold of the rent crisis, create jobs, and make sure the dollars that are sitting in the state government 385 million that we have for rental assistance to keep people in their homes - that that money comes down to the local governments," explains Sharief.

"The thing that we have heard across the district is affordability.  People are having to make very difficult decisions about putting gas in their car, putting food on the table, and paying for prescriptions.  Property insurances are on the rise, rent going up 30%.  People don't know what to do," says Book.

We asked both women why they are running for this seat.  Book shared her very personal story, "As a young person I knew what it was to not have a voice. I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse."

And after working through her own traumas, "I knew that I wanted - and my life's mission or goal in life - was to be a voice to the voiceless," she says.

Sharief says her parents taught her to dream big since she was young. "When you get to a point in your life where you can give something back, you should."

She says she wants to instill the same message and drive in her daughters.

"I just want to set an example for my three girls.  I have three beautiful young ladies that I am raising," she explains.

Election day is August 23rd.

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