Because of term limits, many veteran members of the South Florida legislative delegation won't be heading back to Tallahassee next year. This gives voters who are tired of incumbents a great opportunity to turn the page and select a new crop of lawmakers who can find sensible ways to deal with the many tough challenges -- principally budget, growth and education issues -- that Florida faces. All three of the recommendations we make today involve districts where the incumbent is retiring due to term limits.
This district reaches down into the southernmost parts of Miami-Dade County and includes communities with some of the greatest needs -- Richmond Heights, Naranja and Goulds.
It has been represented by someone named Bullard for nearly 18 years -- ever since current state Sen. Larcenia Bullard was first elected in 1992. She was followed by her husband, Edward Bullard. Clearly, the Bullards are popular in this part of Miami-Dade County, but no one should consider public office a legacy.
Incumbent Dwight M. Bullard, 33, is their son, first elected in 2008. A Democrat, he is running against GOP challenger Charles "Charlie" Lopez, a testing specialist at a charter high school. Mr. Lopez is a social conservative -- against abortion rights, against gay adoption -- but says he is no ideologue. He says Mr. Bullard has done little to improve the district and that the seat should not be deemed the private fiefdom of any one family.
Although we agree with the latter sentiment, Mr. Bullard has gained some experience over the past two years and should have one more shot to show that he can bring home more resources to improve the economic development of this district.
He well understands the need to enhance public transportation in South Miami-Dade and will be a strong advocate for public education. He also wants to reinstate the intangibles tax and collect taxes from Internet sales to reduce the hole in the state budget.
For Florida House, District 118, The Miami Herald recommends DWIGHT M. BULLARD.