Influencers to the Democrats: Tell us your solutions to Florida’s many challenges

Democratic presidential candidates have gathered in Miami this week for two debates. As Floridians watch with an eye toward how the candidates will discuss issues important to the Sunshine State, we asked the Herald’s panel of Florida Influencers — 50 leaders in business, law, nonprofits and the arts — “What do you want to hear from the Democratic candidates as it relates to Florida’s challenges?”

Here are some of the issues they want to hear discussed in the debates:

American cities are under attack. Armies of water molecules are invading our coastlines. They will conquer American soil. The water will rise and it will not recede. I want to know what our future commander-in-chief will do to protect Americans and American cities from the invading seas. Current American policy (e.g., weak regulations and fossil-fuel subsidies) encourages climate polluters to continue warming our planet. The greenhouse gases they release are changing our global climate, causing glaciers to melt and oceans to rise.

Twenty presidential hopefuls will discuss America’s future at Miami’s Arsht Center, elevation 3.26 feet. The candidates must explain how they will combat America’s greatest threat: global climate change and sea level rise. I want to know what each candidate plans to do to help a polarized Congress (and nation) understand the urgency. How will they work together to plan for equitable solutions for the changes to come? How will they prevent future environmental damage so we reduce the harm we cause to people not yet born?

Xavier Cortada, professor of practice, art, University of Miami