The Herald recommends

The Florida Senate, with 40 members with four-year terms compared to the House's 120 members with two-year terms, is known as the more deliberative of the two bodies. Some of the House's more outlandish bills often die for lack of support in the Senate.

But, ultimately, state senators must wrestle with the same thorny issues confronting House members -- the stalled economy, a growing deficit in the face of flat revenue that must be reconciled to reach a balanced budget, a desperate need to reform Medicaid, redrawing state and congressional district seats and much more. Today we begin our recommendations for the state Senate.

District 36

Incumbent Alex Diaz de la Portilla is term limited, and in August, primary voters decided to keep this seat in the family by electing his brother, Miguel, a Republican. Mr. Diaz de la Portilla drew a write-in opponent.

Mr. Diaz de la Portilla served on the Miami-Dade County Commission from 1993 to 2000. A lawyer from Coral Gables, he has been doing lobbying work on county land-use and procurement issues since losing his second run for county mayor in 2004.

Mr. Diaz de la Portilla is another policy wonk who does his homework.

He says no one should expect him to march lock step in Alex's footsteps.

Education and environmental issues top his agenda. He would like to see more money to fund early education programs and improve training for child-care workers. He opposes raiding trust funds and promises to support expanding the state's renewable energy sources and use.

For Florida Senate, District 36, The Herald recommends MIGUEL DIAZ DE LA PORTILLA.