Leon County Sheriff, Superintendent debate

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By: Erika Fernandez
October 23, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla (WCTV) -- WCTV and WFSU hosted a debate for candidates running for the Leon County Sheriff as well as the Leon County Schools Superintendent on Saturday night.

It was a full house for the Leon County Sheriff candidate debate, and one of the first issues up for discussion was crime in the Capital City.

"It’s going up, it hasn’t gone down and that means that we've got to make sure our resources are in the right place," says the only democratic candidate running for Sheriff, Walt McNeil.

Tommy Mills, who is running NPA, says other counties are concerned about how Leon County runs with so much active crime.

"Too many parents are having to keep their kids inside because they're in fear, our seniors are afraid to sit on the porch," Mills said.

Another hot topic on the agenda was the improper use of generators by Sheriff Wood’s deputies following Hurricane Hermine.

"I think I made maybe the morally right decision and perhaps politically an incorrect decision and I’ve owned it. Once again, I believe in transparency and I would probably rethink it going forward,” Sheriff Wood said.

However, the other candidates didn’t agree.

"I think it speaks to a lack of compassion for the people who need it the most. Sheriff Wood is a good man but this speaks to the decision making," said the only Republican candidate for Sheriff this year, Charlie Strickland.

The race for superintendent is another big one in Leon County, and a hot topic for them is students protesting the National Anthem.

"Our job is to educate students on the different parties, and the political system in our country and the Constitution of the United States. But as far as the kids doing it, it’s their constitutional right and although it hurts me to see it," says Rocky Hanna.

"As having three brothers in the service that fought for this country, for their right to have that right, then I think that they should at least stand up for the pledge of allegiance," Patricia Sunday said.

When asked, this was Rocky Hanna's response to the controversial campaign ad by Jackie Pons targeting his family.

"I wouldn’t have even expected Donald Trump to do that, quite honestly. But there’s a line you don’t cross. No job, winning no election is worth sacrificing someone else's family when you have no idea what’s gone on," Hanna said.

The candidates were also asked if elected if they would consider hiring any of their opponents.

"I haven’t thought towards who I would hire, who I would not hire, what positions. I know this, I have a degree in business, in fairly good with numbers and in fairly confident that I could consolidate programs, consolidate departments and push resources down," Hanna said.

"I would hire Mr. Forrest Van Camp because I think he is extremely well-versed in the school system, both from being a teacher, a coach and all the way up," Sunday said.

Both superintendent candidates are running no party affiliation.

Forrest Van Camp could not be in attendance for the superintendent debate due to a family emergency, and Jackie Pons had a scheduling conflict. Registered voters in Leon County will vote for their choice of both positions on November 8.

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