This dramatically redrawn district pits Republican Rep. Michael Bileca, currently the incumbent in District 117, against Democrat Jeffrey Solomon, who ran an unsuccessful race for the House two years ago. Given that the two candidates disagree on practically everything, voters can’t complain that they don’t have a distinct choice.
Mr. Bileca, who’s finishing his first term, calls himself a proud conservative and has a record to match. He’s an outspoken advocate of charter schools and proponent of the “parent-trigger” bill that would make it easier to convert low-performing public schools into charter schools. Dr. Solomon calls that a bad approach to fixing a system that has traditionally served society well. He says education is his priority issue and that he would fight further efforts to promote charter schools.
They differ also on Gov. Rick Scott’s decision to keep Florida out of the Medicaid portion of the federal healthcare-reform law, which will mean less money for the state. “You’d like everyone to be held harmless,” Rep. Bileca said, “but you can’t.” Dr. Solomon calls it a terrible decision — as have we — and says the Legislature needs to veto the governor’s decision to reduce the number of Floridians who can’t get basic healthcare.
Mr. Bileca says that despite his conservative approach, he worked in a bipartisan way in the House to promote his issues. His task is to convince new voters in District 115, which has more Democrats than the one in which he was elected in 2010, that he will represent all of his constituents, regardless of the party line in Tallahassee. While we like Dr. Solomon’s ideas, we believe Rep. Bileca should have an opportunity to show he can adapt to the changed political circumstances.
For House District 115, The Herald recommends MICHAEL BILECA.