By Kevin Deutsch
As part of our coverage of the Special Election to replace the late U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, Tamarac Talk is publishing questionnaires from each qualifying candidate who answered our questions before our July 31 deadline.
The Primary Election has been scheduled for Nov. 2, 2021, and the General Election for Jan. 11, 2022.
This seat includes Tamarac, Lauderhill, Lauderdale Lakes, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and Belle Glade. The questionnaires have been edited for length and clarity.
Name: Barbara Sharief
Family Status: Single, Three daughters
Municipality of residence: Miramar
Have you ever been arrested, charged with a criminal offense, or convicted of a crime?
Have you run for office before? If so, please provide details.
Broward County Commissioner, 2010-Present; Broward County Mayor 2013 and 2016; Vice-Mayor, 2012 and 2015; Miramar City Commissioner, 2009-2010; Miramar Vice-Mayor, 2010
What is your professional and educational background?
South Florida Pediatric Homecare, Inc., Founder, and CEO, 2001-Present (Adult and Pediatric Home Care). I employ more than 200 frontline heroes.
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Wilkes University, 2017. Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), Florida International University, 2000. Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner (ARNP), Florida International University, 2000. Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), Florida International University, 1996. Associate of Science Degree (AS), Nursing, Miami-Dade Community College, 1994. Jackson Memorial Hospital School of Nursing, Graduate, 1992.
Why are you running for this Congressional seat?
I want to put my education and experience to work serving the people of District 20 in Washington, focusing on the issues important to our residents like access to quality healthcare, water resources, strengthening education, creating good-paying jobs for our residents, affordable housing, and providing financial assistance to those who have been permanently, financially damaged by the COVID-19 pandemic.
What sets your candidacy and platform apart from the other candidates?
I am the only candidate in this race with real health care experience on the front lines. The only candidate who owns a large health care business and the only candidate who has both statewide and national experience, having served as the Florida Association of Counties President and on a national, bipartisan health steering committee for nine years.
What in your estimate are the three biggest issues facing this congressional district, and how will you address them?
Affordable healthcare – Expanding Medicare and Medicaid coverage and continuing to educate the community on the importance of getting a COVID-19 vaccination.
Good paying jobs – Increasing the minimum wage, creating incentives for bringing back manufacturing to our country, and increasing funding for infrastructure.
Strengthening education – Increasing funding for educators, increasing funding for STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), and providing additional funding for students majoring in Education.
What do you consider your most important 1) personal connection and 2) professional connection to this district?
I have represented the majority of the district as both a Miramar City Commissioner and a Broward County Commissioner and Mayor. And I have lived in this district for many years. My business creates jobs and serves the residents of Broward and Miami-Dade Counties.
How familiar are you with Tamarac, and what in your view are the most significant challenges facing the city?
I am very familiar with Tamarac. Currently, the ethics issues facing the Commission are a significant challenge. Other challenges include the safety and security of aging buildings and infrastructure.
How do you plan to serve the residents of Tamarac?
I plan on serving the residents of Tamarac the same as the rest of District 20 – with my full-time commitment as a Member of Congress.
How do you plan to serve the residents of Kings Point?
Kings Point is an integral part of Tamarac. One of my top priorities is shoring up social security and healthcare, especially for seniors, including Permanently approving telehealth visits as a covered service for seniors under Medicare; advocating to approve more preventative care for seniors experiencing early stages of chronic health conditions; expanding coverage of brand and generic medications; advocating to decrease costs of prescription drugs by negotiating with manufacturers and other countries;
and closing the Medicare Part D “Donut Hole” coverage gap.
Why should residents of the district cast their vote for you?
I am the only candidate in this race with a diverse background in business, health care, and government experience who stands ready on day one to tackle the issues of the district.
What are the top three issues facing the country, and how do you plan to address them if elected?
Health Care – We must get control of the COVID-19 pandemic. We must continue to make vaccines readily available and continue to educate our residents on the importance of vaccinations. I also want to expand access to Medicare and Medicaid.
Deteriorating Infrastructure and Jobs/Economy – Investing in the nation’s aging infrastructure, like our roads and bridges, is vital to the safety of our communities. Infrastructure improvements will also bring good-paying jobs for our citizens, increasing the minimum wage.
Social Justice – Protecting voter rights, fighting against racism and antisemitism, and ensuring equal employment opportunities.
What is the most important thing voters should know about you?
As the Founder and CEO of a large home healthcare agency, South Florida Pediatric Homecare, Inc., which specializes in home healthcare services for medically complex children and adults, I have a keen understanding of the challenges facing our citizens. I am a current member of the National Association of Counties and the former Chair of their Health Steering Committee. I have been to Washington numerous times lobbying for critical healthcare issues, including expanding Medicare and quality affordable health insurance. I will bring that experience to Washington and be a leading advocate for comprehensive, sustainable, long-term healthcare services. As a member of the Metropolitan Planning Organization and the 16 County Coalition for water resources, supporting transportation and water infrastructure will be additional priorities.
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- Kevin Deutsch is an award-winning crime journalist and author. A graduate of Florida International University, Kevin has worked on staff at The Miami Herald, New York Daily News, and The Palm Beach Post.