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.
Julio Robaina, first elected to the Florida House in 2002, is retiring after an unsuccessful run for the state Senate. Vying to replace him are Democrat Lisa Lesperance and Republican Michael Bileca. There are no third-party or write-in candidates in the race.
Mr. Robaina, a moderate Republican, showed during his tenure that he was not afraid to buck his own party when he felt it necessary. Ms. Lesperance, an attorney and one-time candidate for the bench, is best suited to represent constituents in this central-southeast district that includes parts of South Miami, Coral Gables and Cutler Bay.
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Ms. Lesperance says state priorities are out of order, as reflected in the state budget. She says she would like Democrats and Republicans to have an "adult conversation" about the state's needs and how to go about balancing the budget.
She opposes off-shore drilling and says the Legislature's failure to reauthorize the Department of Community Affairs -- which plays a vital role in growth management -- was "short-sighted and childish."
For Florida House, District 117, The Miami Herald recommends LISA LESPERANCE.