Political Salsa is a nonpartisan political mixer where candidates can meet with potential voters with a diverse audience.
By Sean D. Hartman
Central Florida Post Publisher Jacob Engels will be joining T.J. Legacy-Cole as a moderator for the upcoming Political Salsa event. Engels and Cole will hold a Q&A session with candidates in attendance after the scheduled forums.
Political Salsa is a nonpartisan political mixer where candidates can meet with potential voters with a diverse audience, albeit largely targeted to the Puerto Rican community. The event will be held at the Centro Borinqueño on Thursday, August 16th from 530-930PM.
Last year, over 500 people attended the event with 58 candidates participating in mostly civil debates with their opponents. The event is a staple of Orange County politics, with the Orlando Political Observer referring to it as the primary event of the season.
“Our goal is to provide a fair and unbiased platform to facilitate an opportunity for candidates to get their message across to the Puerto Rico Community of Florida,” said Christian Lloyd Suarez, Chairman of Political Salsa.
The event is presented by the Puerto Rican Bar Association of Florida, and its association with the Puerto Rican community is especially important after Hurricane Maria.
More than 135,000 Puerto Ricans relocated to the United States after Hurricane Maria, according to the Center of Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College. Of that number, over 50,000 ended up in Florida, with a large number calling Central Florida their home.
“If they register and vote, they will add an additional element of political uncertainty in a state that has long been a battlefield between political parties”, said attorney Anthony Suarez, a former legislator.
“I’m excited to partner with the Puerto Rican Bar Association to be a social media ambassador for Political Salsa 2018,” T.J. Legacy-Cole told the Central Florida Post. “The idea of putting two polarizing figures from different sides of the political spectrum such as Jacob Engels and I together to help increase voter education in our community is bold, fresh and innovative.”
“Political Salsa is consistently one of the most well attended and informative events of the election season,” said Engels. “I can’t wait to duke it out with T.J. and hold candidates accountable to voters.
“It’s an honor to participate in such an important and I thank the Puerto Rican Bar Association for inviting us to participate.”
Confirmed for the event are most of the candidates for Congressional District 7 and most gubernatorial candidates, though Ponte Verde Beach Republican Congressman Ron DeSantis have yet to publicly commit at the time of this article’s writing.
Engels and Cole come from two sides of the political spectrum, and it would be interesting to see their questions to the candidates.
“From their campaign platform to what they like to do in their spare time, we will ask it all,” said Engels.
Sean David Hartman is a reporter for the Central Florida Post, covering entertainment and public affairs. He describes himself as a “Professional Political Nuisance” and goes after politicians on both sides. Hartman is an autism rights activist, and #ProudlyAutistic.