Though residents in the state’s Senate District 40 in Southwest Miami-Dade and House District 116 are still recovering from Hurricane Irma’s stinging slap, they still should take part in the special legislative election. Early voting already has begun, and Sept. 26 is Election Day.
Former state Rep. Jose Felix Diaz, 37, has earned the chance to finish disgraced former state Sen. Frank Artiles’ term. A conservative Republican, he is not always beholden to ideology. He has shown several times over that he can legislate as a moderate, working across the aisle and seeking compromise to craft laws that have real-time, street-level effectiveness.
Annette Taddeo, 50, is his opponent in this special election. Hers, of course, is a familiar name from past unsuccessful races in which she has sought elected office, including seats on the County Commission and in Congress, when she challenged Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.
She brings impressive experience gained over the years as chair of the Democratic Party of Miami-Dade, vice chair of the Florida Democratic Party and committeewoman for the DNC. Her bona fides as a community-engaged businesswoman are solid, with her most recently jumping in during the aftermath of Hurricane Irma to assist stricken residents. She knows policy and the issues and would be able to articulate well Democratic values in the Legislature, while working across the aisle.
In this case, however, there is no substitute for experience and success in navigating the legislative process. Diaz has both. In his interview with the Editorial Board, he cited that he was a prime sponsor of a law that brings criminal charges in cases of suspected fraud and abuse by condo associations; his support for fairly opening up the market for solar energy; and he, along with state Sen. Rene Garcia, successfully fought to broaden healthcare coverage to immigrant children residing legally in Florida through KidCare.
We have our differences with Diaz on the issues, of course: his support for charter schools too often at the expense of the state’s public schools and his rejection of Medicaid expansion. Both stances undercut many of his constituents’ best interests, both in his district and statewide.
There is one more candidate in the Senate 40 race: Christian “He-Man” Schlaerth, 37, an adjunct professor, running with no party affiliation. He wants money taken out of politics and supports the legalization of recreational marijuana as a way to create a new revenue stream; wants tuition-free state college education the first two years for some students; says institutions of higher learning should spend more money on students, less on expansion; and wants to address healthcare costs in Florida.
Diaz, who stepped down from his seat in the state House at the end of the most recent session, merits a chance to serve in the upper chamber. For state Senate District 40, the Herald recommends JOSE FELIX DIAZ.
Jose Felix Diaz’s quest to move from the Florida House to the Senate left open his District 116 seat.
The once-heated Republican primary race for the seat has turned into a virtual stroll for insurance attorney Daniel Anthony Perez — a political novice who defeated brewery owner Jose Mallea to advance to the general election.
Now, the Cuban-American Perez, 30, is pitted against Venezuela-born Gabriela Mayaudon, 49, a former congresswoman in her country, who is running for the first time in the United States.
Mayaudon, a Democrat, is running her own grassroots campaign, but she has stayed away from debating or making public appearances with her opponent, a mistake, we think. Meanwhile, Perez has gained heft after defeating Mallea.
Although Perez is a newcomer to the political arena, he is enthusiastic, eager to learn and make a difference in Tallahassee for the Republican-leaning expanse of Miami-Dade County that stretches south from Doral to Kendall.
He’ll be new blood for the GOP — and a soldier. He does not stray from the party line: He opposes any and all tax increases and wants to find ways to lower property taxes; he is a strong supporter of President Trump and his tax-reform and job-creation initiatives. He promises to fight against government waste and for smaller, accountable state government.
In light of Hurricane Irma and the nine deaths at a Hollywood nursing home he says, “Requiring generators in elderly nursing homes has become a must.”
On a personal note, Perez sites his brother, who is severely autistic, as an inspiration for his willingness to become a public servant.
“I will be a champion in Tallahassee for local families with special needs relatives,” he told the Editorial Board.
For House District Seat 116, the Herald recommends DANIEL ANTHONY PEREZ.