Astagnant economy means the Legislature will convene in 2011 under even more budgetary constraints than this year. Veteran lawmakers predict a mean season in Tallahassee next March when it comes to cutting up the shriveling pot of state revenue.
Lawmakers will also be dealing with a new governor, either Republican Rick Scott, who knows little about state government, or Democrat Alex Sink, who "gets'' Tallahassee after a stint as state CFO but whose agenda may differ sharply with a Republican-led Legislature.
State lawmakers, alas, are often little known by their constituents -- unfortunate, because they make crucial decisions about funding public schools, how much money the courts receive and even whether oil drilling can be allowed in state waters. We begin our recommendations for the state House today.
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There's a real contest in this Miami Beach/Miami district. Democratic incumbent Luis Garcia is opposed by the district's former representative Gus Barreiro, 51. Both have served this district ably, but we think, where all else is equal, the House needs Democrats for better balance to reflect Florida's voter registration.
Mr. Garcia, 64, a former Miami Beach fire chief and city commissioner, has been a solid legislator. He has worked with Miami-Dade Republican Rep. Julio Robaina to reform the state's windstorm insurance and condominium laws, areas affecting many Miami Beach residents. He's become the go-to guy for issues related to healthcare workers' job conditions and is a strong advocate for putting a halt to the Legislature's penchant for foisting unfunded mandates on local governments.
For Florida House, District 107, The Miami Herald recommends LUIS GARCIA.