Key Westers Watch Debate With An Eye On Climate Change

Jun 27, 2019

About 25 Democrats in Key West gathered at Shanna Key, an Irish pub, to watch the debate.

Bert Sise is chairwoman of the Democratic Party in Monroe County.

She was watching to see the candidates address a couple issues in particular.

"Climate change for sure. For sure. Because all of our lives in South Florida are going to be impacted by what happens in the next couple of decades," she said.

While the spotlight was on the candidates Wednesday evening, Sise says local party members have an important role to play in the election and in national politics.

"I see a role for every live human with a brain that's thinking in this," she said. "We need to be in the street protesting more. We need to be loud and vocal about discrimination. About cruelty. About the constant lies coming out of DC."

In 2016, Donald Trump won Monroe County with 51 percent of the vote.

The local Democrats' Key West watch party was highlighted Monday night on The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC — which came as a surprise to Sise, who heard about it in a text from the local party treasurer Tuesday morning.

"Blew me away," Sise said. "We are now nationally famous. Us and Shanna Key, of course."

Maddow, a moderator at Wednesday's debate, got a small cheer from the audience at Shanna Key when she mentioned the Keys from the stage Wednesday evening — even if it was to say that parts of the island chain would be under water in the future due to sea level rise.

Jan Gary is in the process of moving to Key West.

She says the candidates covered the issues she cares about.

"There are so many urgent issues right now. Someone will talk about climate change and like, yeah," she said. Somebody else will talk about how we need to have abortion rights federalized, Roe v. Wade federalized. And you're going, yeah.'

She says she did not see a clear winner emerge from the evening.

"I thought they brought a lot of great voices to the table and showed people who the Democratic Party is now," she said.

Gary and her husband are moving from Annapolis, Maryland — another place she said is concerned about climate change.

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