Miami Herald | EDITORIAL

The Herald recommends: For Florida House

 

HeraldEd@MiamiHerald.com

DISTRICT 108

Democratic incumbent Daphne Campbell, 57, is being challenged by two earnest and thoughtful candidates who believe the district can do better than Ms. Campbell, who is often in the news for all the wrong reasons.

The bayside district extends north from SR 112 to include all or parts of Miami, El Portal, Miami Shores and Biscayne Park. It extends to the west beyond I-95.

Taj J. Echoles, 37, is a teacher in Miami-Dade public schools and Michael Hepburn, 31, is an administrator at Florida International University who advises student athletes. Mr. Echoles is making his first foray into the electoral arena, while Mr. Hepburn ran unsuccessfully for the state House in 2010.

Both challengers are well-versed on the legislative topics. Both believe in Democratic issues like increasing the minimum wage, expanding Medicaid coverage with federal funding and tightening restrictions on Stand Your Ground. Both are pro-choice.

Ms. Campbell, on the other hand, has been a far from reliable member of her caucus, including on issues that are standard Democratic fare. She was the only Democrat to vote with the GOP in favor of a bill that involved increasing penalties on harming a fetus while committing a crime. She was one of the few Democrats voting to expand the dangerous Stand Your Ground law and voted against her party on school vouchers.

After a Campbell family minivan racked up five tickets for running red lights, she filed legislation to ban the traffic-surveillance cameras that shot video of her husband’s vehicle breaking traffic laws.

Ms. Campbell, whose family owns assisted living facilities that have been criticized for squalor by state inspectors, has led the fight against oversight and supervision in the Legislature and has fought to shield public information on ALFs.

Either Mr. Hepburn or Mr. Echoles would be a better representative for District 108 voters. Our recommendation goes to Mr. Echoles because of his experience in public education and his thorough familiarity with the issues.

In the race for state representative, District 108, our recommendation is for TAJ. C. ECHOLES.

DISTRICT 111

With State Rep. Eddy Gonzalez term-limited, the job of representing this solidly Republican district in the north-central part of the county is sought by candidates Bryan Avila and Alex Anthony, both making their first run for a legislative seat.

The district, carried almost 2-to-1 by Republican Rick Scott in 2010, includes parts of Hialeah, Virginia Gardens and Miami Springs. It also encompasses most of Miami International Airport.

This is the initial run for public office by Mr. Avila, 30, but he has been active in Republican Party circles for some time. Last year, he became vice chairman of the GOP’s County Executive Committee. An English teacher at Miami Dade College, he is an avid supporter of the institution.

He believes MDC should have the chance to ask voters for a sales-tax increase to make needed improvements to various campuses — an opportunity denied by the Legislature.

Mr. Avila conforms to the prevailing Republican view in Tallahassee against expanding Medicaid, even with federal funds. “I simply don’t trust the federal government,” he told the Editorial Board. That will help him get along with Republican House leaders, should he be elected, but it won’t help constituents who lack access to medical care.

Mr. Anthony, who ran unsuccessfully last year for the Miami Springs City Council, did not meet with the Editorial Board. For state representative, District 111, the Miami Herald recommends BRYAN AVILA.

CORRECTION: The Aug. 7 recommendation in the Democratic primary for state Senate District 36 incorrectly stated the name of the Miami Herald’s preferred candidate. He is Oscar Braynon II.

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