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New Jersey transplant seeks to overtake Hastings in Congress

First elected in 1992, Hastings faces challenge from little-known opponent

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings' seat in Congress might be considered safe, but he said he wants District 20 to know that he deserves to keep it. The Democrat told Local 10 News that he has experience that counts.

"I have demonstrably shown that I can work across the aisle, and we're at a tipping point in this country," Hastings said. "And what's needed more than anything is politicians who are willing to try and bring the country together."

Hastings was first elected to the U.S. House in 1992.

Records showed he mostly votes with his party, but Hastings has worked with South Florida Republicans for Everglades restoration.

He has staunchly defended Obamacare and would like to see a single-payer, universal health care plan.

"We need single-payer (health care)," Hastings said. "Medicare has worked and we need Medicare to do the same thing for all."

His little-known opponent said it's time for change.

Gary Stein is a Sunrise resident and real estate agent who previously had four unsuccessful runs for Congress in New Jersey.

Stein is running his own campaign, from putting out signs he designed himself to passing out cards explaining his hybrid flat-tax plan.

"I'm talking about a flat tax on income over a half-million (dollars), but the first half-million is free," Stein said. "No federal income taxes. No payroll deductions like Social Security. That would all come out of a national sales tax."

Stein said the plan would help pay for universal healthcare, a platform that aligns him closer to his opponent than with fellow Republicans.

He also supports a $15 minimum wage and is for universal background checks for guns.

"I'm heavy for more gun control," Stein said.