Meet the candidates: Broward Clerk of Courts

Broward County Clerk of Courts Brenda Forman was elected to succeed her then-husband in 2016.
Broward County Clerk of Courts Brenda Forman was elected to succeed her then-husband in 2016.

BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. – Broward Clerk of Courts Brenda Forman is facing off against Paul Backman and Mark Speiser in Tuesday’s Primary Election.

BRENDA FORMAN

Broward Clerk of Courts Brenda Forman. (Brenda Forman)

Forman was elected in November 2016 and was the first African American and the first elected female clerk in the history of the Broward County Clerk of Court's Office.

Before being elected, she worked for ChildNet, the State Attorney’s Office and was the CEO and founder of the B Dixon Mortgage Company.

PAUL BACKMAN

Broward Clerk of Courts Candidate Paul Backman. (Paul Backman)

Backman, 71, served as a judge in Broward County, beginning in 1984.

According to his campaign’s website, Backman spent 20 years “presiding over Career Criminal Divisions of Repeat Offenders and Violent Criminals and served as an Administrative Judge over an eight-year period, supervising over 16 different divisions.”

He also has trained new judges and instituted several programs still utilized at the courthouse.

MARK SPEISER

Broward Clerk of Courts Candidate Mark Speiser. (Mark Speiser)

Speiser, 72, is a former prosecutor and served as a Circuit Court judge in Broward County, beginning in 1983, working in the juvenile, criminal, probate and civil divisions.

“I have been an innovator and creator of solution solving courts: The first Mental Health Court in the United States, the second Drug Court in the state of Florida and the first Veteran’s Court in Broward County,” Speiser said in a post on his campaign website. “My experience in the courthouse as an attorney, as a judge and as an administrator gives me the ability to bring much needed change for now and the future.”

CAMPAIGN CONTROVERSY

Backman called out Forman last month after a social media graphic she posted was deemed to be anti-Semitic.

The post showed a quote that is falsely attributed to Hitler next to a photo that is meant to look like the Nazi leader. The text’s subject matter was about controlling a group of people by systematically and subtly revoking their rights.

Forman, however, shared the post with no context, which sparked a deluge of outrage from Broward residents.

“I was just appalled that in the 21st century we have to go back and relive the history that has existed between any quote dealing with an individual by the name of Hitler in reference to Jews,” Backman said. “Where an individual who references herself as the first female and first woman of color. . . I give her all of that credit because she was, but this is just unhinged.”

Forman apologized and said she was not sharing the post to glorify the message or the man it was incorrectly attributed to.

Instead, she said she was trying to share the words in the post as a warning. She added that, in hindsight, she probably should have added context in the post.

“I don’t set out to offend people,” said Forman. “I never will offend any group of people, race, creed, color or nationality or your religion. That is not who I am, and it was not meant to be set out there in that way. I want my African American community to know because of what’s going out there. You have people out there marching for Black Lives Matter, why is it that the clerk of the courts can’t fight for you on the inside and let you know, I know what injustice is?”


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