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The 10 hopefuls in Wednesday night's debate in Miami were:

  • Sen. Cory Booker (New Jersey)
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Massachusetts)
  • Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (Texas)
  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minnesota)
  • Former Rep. John Delaney (Maryland)
  • Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii)
  • Former Housing Secretary Julián Castro
  • Rep. Tim Ryan (Ohio)
  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio
  • Gov. Jay Inslee (Washington)
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On June 26-27, the Democratic Party will have the first debate for the 2020 Presidential nomination. Wochit, Wochit

During the Democratic National Convention, scheduled for July 13-16 in Milwaukee, the party will choose who'll face President Donald Trump in his re-election bid.

Here are the key debate highlights regarding issues important to Florida residents: 

Economy

Candidates agreed on this: The economy is working, but only for those with the money - including large corporations. 

Warren: Said the economy is doing great for a thinner and thinner slice at the top.

"That is corruption pure and simple," she said. "We need to call it out."

O'Rourke: Wants a "war tax" on wealthy Americans. "This economy has got to work for everyone, and right now we know it isn't." 

Booker: Said there's a serious problem with corporate consolidation, which must be checked.

Castor: Said he'll pursue legislation that ensures women are paid equal pay for equal work.

"It's past time that we did that," he said.

Gabbard: Would stop what she described as a "new cold war," redirecting taxpayer money to programs that will help the economy, creating good paying jobs and protecting the environment. 

Delaney: Said he'll work to ensure everyone has a living wage and to fix a broken public education system.

de Blasio: Said "There's plenty of money in this world. There is plenty of money in this country. It's just in the wrong hands. We Democrats just have to fix that."

Inslee: Said he'll stand up for unions and fight for higher wages.

"Donald Trump is simply wrong. He says wind turbines cause cancer. We know they cause jobs."

Klobuchar: Wants to make community college free and to expand Pell Grants, making it easier for students to go college and pay off their student debt.

Ryan: Said he wants to see the U.S. dominate the solar and electric car industries.

Environment

Several of the Democratic hopefuls counted climate change as one of the major threats to the country, but most were short on specifics of how they'd confront it.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said he was surprised to be the only candidate who would make climate change "their top priority" and "the organizing principle" of their administration.

It's the only way, he said, "we can save ourselves, our children, our grandchildren and save life on this planet."

Inslee also got in a dig at President Donald Trump, countering his statement that power-generating windmills cause cancer by saying they "cause jobs."

Beside saying the key to fighting climate change was to "bring everybody together to find a solution to the challenges we face," former Rep. Beto O'Rourke of Texas got a bit more specific when he said he'd also fund resiliency projects in Miami, Houston and other "places on the front lines of climate change today."

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren tied the environment to the economy by saying fossil fuel companies are "doing great" while the rest of us are "watching climate change bear down on us."

On his first day as president, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro said he'd sign an executive order to reenter the Paris Accord on climate Change.

Education

From reform to proposed plans, education topics went mostly unmentioned apart from Sen. Amy Klobuchar opening question on college affordability.

Klobuchar used her time to highlight her community college plan.

Klobuchar countered Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s recent proposal on college debt relief by promising free community college and the expansion of federal Pell Grants.

Warren’s two-part plan would cancel all student debt up to $50,000 in private and public loans and provide universal free public college.

Klobuchar said she gets concerned about “paying for college for rich kids.” Warren’s two-part plan would cancel all student debt and provide universal free public college.

Klobuchar said her father and sister received their first degrees from community colleges. She said she wants to make it easier for students to pay off their loans.

"If billionaires can pay off their yachts students should be able to pay off their student loans," Klobuchar said.

Other candidates like Booker and Delaney made light comments about education during other topics. Delaney said public education is not delivering results and needs to be fixed.

Health care

All candidates agreed that expanding access to health insurance and health care is a high priority. A handful of Democratic candidates in Wednesday’s debate called for a single-payer “Medicare for All” system that would eliminate private insurance.

Others advocate for more incremental changes, including Medicare buy-ins and shoring up and expanding the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, which covers about 20 million Americans.

Only Warren and DeBlasio raised their hands when asked if they’d give up their private health insurance for a Medicare type of plan.

Some takeaways from the debate:

Klobuchar, who has called for protecting the Affordable Care Act and adding an insurance “public option” in its policy market, said she wants to take on pharmaceutical companies to lower drug prices.

Warren said she supports a Medicare for All plan: “I spent a big chunk of my life studying why families go broke. And one of the number one reasons is the cost of health care – medical bills.

O’Rourke called for “universal health care” and an option to buy a Medicare plan. He added: “In Texas, the single largest provider of mental health care services is the county jail system.”

DeBlasio: “Private insurance is not working for tens of millions of Americans, when you talk about the co-pays, the deductibles, the premiums, the out-of-pocket expenses.”

Gabbard backs Medicare for All, arguing that it would cover all Americans and save businesses money.

Gun control

On the gun control discussion, many of the candidates praised the activism by students from Parkland, Florida, where 17 of their classmates were gunned down by a former student in February 2018.

"These Parkland kids from Florida, they have started a national shift," said Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. "When kids talk to their parents and grandparents, they say 'I don't understand why we can't put these sensible things in place,' and they listen."

Florida has had several mass shootings in the last few years. In the early morning hours of June 12, 2016, a gunman, opened fire inside Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, killing 49 people and injuring more than 100 others. At the time, the killing spree was the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.

But several other tragedies in the state followed, including the Parkland massacre. Gun violence struck at a gaming convention in Jacksonville in August, leaving three people and the gunman dead. Two women were gunned down at a yoga studio in Tallahassee in November. And five women were killed execution style at a bank in Sebring in January.

The initial question Wednesday on the gun topic posed by moderator Chuck Todd was whether the candidates had a plan to account for weapons that wouldn't be taken off the streets despite their proposals for banning assault weapons.

Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey advocates a federal gun buy-back program, for example. Though for legislation on any assault weapons bans, candidate Julian Castro, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary, said a Democratic president will need majorities in both the House and the Senate.

Other candidates shifted the focus to solutions for gun violence not involving the weapons themselves. Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio said the schools must provide better counseling for students. That could preempt some massacres, he said.

"We need trauma-based care in every school," Ryan said. "Ninety percent of the school shooters come from the school they're in. And 73 percent of them feel shamed, traumatized or bullied. We need to make sure these kids feel connected."

Immigration and national security

The seven out of 10 candidates who responded vigorously criticized the treatment of Central American immigrants and families crossing the southern border. Some spoke emotionally about seeing the photo of the bodies of Oscar Alberto Martínez and his toddler daughter, Angie Valeria, of El Salvador, found dead on the bank of the Rio Grande River.

Most said if elected, they would stop separating immigrant families and use civil means to deal with immigrants coming into the country and decriminalize the process.

Former Housing Secretary Julián Castro: “Watching those images of Oscar and his daughter Valaria is heartbreaking. It should also piss us all off. If I were president today I would sign an executive order that would get rid of Trump’s zero tolerance policy, the remain in Mexico policy and the metering policy.”

Sen. Cory Booker, of New Jersey, first answered in Spanish. “On Day One I will make sure that No. 1 we end the ICE policies and Customs and Border policies that are violating human rights. When people come to this country, they do not leave their human rights at the border.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio: For all the American citizens out there who feel they are falling behind and feel the American dreams not working for you, the immigrants didn’t do that to you. The big corporations did that to you. The 1% did that to you. We need to be the party of working people and that includes the party of immigrants.”

Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke, of Texas: “We would not turn back Valaria and her father Oscar, we would accept them into this country and follow our own asylum laws. We would not build walls, we would not put kids in cages, in fact we would spare no expense to reunite families who have been separated already.”

Gov. Jay Inslee, of Washington: “There is no reason for the detention and separation of these children, they should be released pending their hearings and there should be a hearing and the law should be followed.

Rep. Tim Ryan, of Ohio: ” If you go to Guantanamo Bay, there are terrorists that are held that get better health care than those kids who’ve tried to cross the border into the United States. That needs to stop … What kind of country are we running here where we have a president of the United States who is so focused on hate and fear and division and what has happened now, the end result, is now we’ve got kids literally laying in their own snot with three-week-old diapers that haven’t been changed.”

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