State attorney candidates reach out as election nears

Heavily contested race for prosecutor leads candidates to public outreach

ORLANDO, Fla. – With two weeks remaining in the most-contested race for state attorney in decades, both candidates are reaching out to the public for advice on how to tackle issues facing the criminal justice system.

Incumbent Lawson Lamar, facing his first serious challenge in 24 years, Tuesday announced the formation of a community advisory council. The group of 15 Orange and Osceola county residents will recommend areas of concern to the state attorney, but have no powers to force changes.

Also Tuesday, challenger Jeff Ashton announced he will hold a community forum on crime on Wednesday evening in the Washington Shores neighborhood of Orlando.

Ashton's campaign called it "the start of an ongoing conversation about crime and the justice system and its effect on victims, witnesses and defendants."

The forum will begin at 6 p.m. at the Dr. James Smith Center, 1723 Bruton Boulevard.

The state attorney race will be decided during the August 14th primary election because both candidates are Democrats and no Republican or other candidate qualified.