Today we start our recommendations in primary races for Florida House of Representatives running in Miami-Dade and parts of Broward County.
House District 110
Rep. Jose Oliva, 39, a Miami Lakes Republican, is running for a complete two-year term after winning a special election in 2010 to replace a lawmaker elected to another post. Mr. Oliva, who is running against newcomer Ileana Abay, deserves reelection.
A cigar company owner who has lived in this West Miami-Dade district virtually all his life, Mr. Oliva managed to win approval for a proposed constitutional amendment that would exempt seniors from having to pay property taxes in some circumstances.
As a freshman who was elected in a half-term — which does not count against the eight-year term limit — Mr. Oliva has an edge in seniority, and he’s expected to pursue top leadership positions a few years down the line.
In the Republican primary for Florida House, District 110, The Miami Herald recommends JOSE OLIVA.
House District 111
Hialeah Republican Eduardo “Eddy” Gonzalez was first elected in 2006. With redistricting, his district No. 102 changed to 111. This new district loses a small portion of South Broward and a swath of North Miami-Dade. It now covers Miami Springs and parts of Hialeah and the airport area of Miami.
Mr. Gonzalez’s challenger is Maykel “Miguel” Balboa. We recommend Rep. Gonzalez, based on his experience in Tallahassee working with the Miami-Dade delegation to get key economic development projects passed.
If reelected, Mr. Gonzalez, 42, who serves as vice chair of the House Health and Human Services Committee, should lead on solving crucial health and safety issues for the elderly and disabled in assisted living facilities (ALFs). The legislation to put teeth into the state’s regulation of ALFs was hijacked in the House by the industry this year, and nothing was accomplished. We expect Mr. Gonzalez, who works for CAC Florida Medical Center, to step up on this issue.
In the Republican primary for Florida House, District 111, The Miami Herald recommends EDUARDO “EDDY” GONZALEZ.
House District 112
Alex Dominguez and Jose Javier Rodriguez agree on many things: the sorry state of Florida’s public education system; the dire need for ALF reform and that the Affordable Care Act is now the law that merits Florida’s attention.
Mr. Dominguez, 42, a Realtor and pharmaceutical executive, and Mr. Rodriguez, 33, an attorney, are running in a south Miami-Dade district that covers Coral Gables and Key Biscayne. We give Mr. Rodriguez the edge for his depth on issues.
He clearly sees how the state’s intractable problems, its pieces, fit into larger issues. For instance, he points to the lack of true reform of the state’s assisted living facilities, and sees it as part of the larger dialogue on healthcare reform. Mr. Rodriguez is more skeptical about for-profit charter schools than his opponent, saying that, like the private prison industry, amassing so many facilities gives them a disproportionate influence on policy makers.
For Florida House 112, The Miami Herald recommends JOSE JAVIER RODRIGUEZ in the Democratic primary.
House District 112
As Senate majority leader a few years back, Alex Diaz de la Portilla, 47, was one of those lawmakers who walked in lockstep with the most conservative elements of his party’s leadership. That is not to say that he didn’t bring home the bacon: In 2008, he got the Legislature to pony up $28 million for a crucial dredging project at the Miami River Port.
Still, there’s such an overwhelming need for moderation and bipartisanship in a state where no party has the majority of voters that former state Rep. Gus Barreiro, 53, gets The Miami Herald’s nod this time. Now a healthcare consultant, his work on behalf of the state’s juveniles during his eight years in office and his experience in navigating through opposition, have earned him another go-round. He wants the state to stop letting “the bad guys” run ALFs, and he believes the governor should expand Medicaid as part of healthcare reform.
For Florida House 112, The Miami Herald recommends GUS BARREIRO in the GOP primary.