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.
Former Key West Mayor Morgan McPherson, a Republican, is challenging Democrat Ron Saunders, who has been serving in the House since 2006. So is Tea Party candidate Henry Llorella. This is actually Mr. Saunders' second act in the House, where he also served District 120 from 1986 to 1994.
Mr. McPherson, 41, is employed by a credit-card services firm. If elected, he wants to work to bring state funding for extending waste-water treatment systems to the Keys, a worthwhile goal.
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But legislative experience is the trump card in this contest, and Mr. Saunders has it in aces. Way back when the Legislature was controlled by the Democrats, Mr. Saunders chaired the all-important appropriations committee. He understands the budgeting process in ways that can help his constituents get their fair share of state services, even though he's in the minority party now. Mr. Saunders likes to point out that in recent years Republican lawmakers -- despite their no-new-tax mantra -- have passed $2.2 billion in new taxes and fees, such as the hike in license tag charges.
Mr. Saunders, 55, also cites upgrading Monroe's sewage systems as a priority. He noted that this year the Legislature reauthorized the $200 million state bond legislation to complete building Keys sewage systems and also extended the completion deadline five years.
Mr. Saunders, an attorney in Key West, is a numbers and policy man. He learns the details of legislation before deciding how to vote and has a strong supportive record on environmental and fiscal issues. Mr. Saunders knows both his district, which runs north from Key West to Bird Road in Miami-Dade County, and Tallahassee inside and out.
For Florida House District 120 The Miami Herald recommends RON SAUNDERS.