Letters to the Editor

The Herald recommends:


District 23

Republican primary

Republican candidates Joe Kaufman and Martin “Marty” Feigenbaum clearly are game for the uphill battle to unseat Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Mr. Kaufman, 46, says that he is a counter-terrorism writer and researcher for several think tanks. He would vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, return unaccompanied children from Central America to their home countries and he decries U.S. policies that he says have turned Iraq and Syria into havens for terrorists; and says corporate tax breaks will help create jobs.

Mr. Feigenbaum, 66, says that he wants to help nudge the GOP back to being the Party of Lincoln. He believes that the Affordable Care Act shouldn’t stand as is, but that “the nation needs to make affordable healthcare available.” He also would like to give the DREAMers, young adults brought to this country illegally as children, a path to citizenship.

We like this more moderate approach to confronting our challenges. Therefore, in the District 23 Republican primary, the Herald recommends MARTIN “MARTY” FEIGENBAUM.


Democratic primary

The race for Congressional District 24 pits veteran local politician Frederica Wilson, famous for her hats, and a newcomer to politics, but not to football fans. Randall Hill, who played professionally for seven years, including time with the Miami Dolphins, wants to go to Congress.

After football, Mr. Hill turned to law enforcement and has worked for the Sunrise police, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and the Department of Homeland Security — a job he quit to run for office.

Mr. Hill, 46, says the incumbent has grown too comfortable in the district and that her door-to-door campaigning is scant.

That’s a charge that Ms. Wilson, 73, denies. Indeed, the incumbent has worked hard for the South Florida. She founded the bipartisan Congressional Florida Ports Caucus, which advocates for those economic engines of this state. She has fought for sensible gun control, as gun violence has taken a tragic toll in her district.

Both candidates are well-versed in the needs of the district: higher-paying jobs, youth-crime prevention and minimum-wage increases.

Though we encourage Mr. Hill to continue his civic engagement, for District 24, the Herald recommends FREDERICA WILSON.


Democratic primary

Joe Garcia has traveled a rocky road during his political career. Some of his stumbles have been of his own making, as evidenced by the obscenities he hurled at a Spanish-language TV host, at least according to those who say they heard the tirade.

And Mr. Garcia, a Democratic former congressman, has yet to fully dispel the doubts that still hover over his campaign to reclaim a seat he lost to U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, a Republican, in 2014.

In 2012, his chief of staff, Jeff Garcia, who is no relation, was convicted of submitting illegal absentee-ballot requests and received jail time. In addition, he was given probation after he acknowledged that he put up a ringer tea-party candidate two years earlier.

Joe Garcia was not charged with any wrongdoing, but it’s a topic that still dogs him.

His opponent in this Democratic primary, Annette Taddeo has made it an issue and says that he is under a cloud and has associated with the “wrong people.” She said that Congress “needs ethical lawmakers,” implying that Mr. Garcia was not.

She’s right that lawmakers must make integrity their priority. However, we are giving Mr. Garcia, 52, the benefit of the doubt in recommending him in this race.

There’s his bombast, yes, but he was a real fighter for his district and for Florida when he served in Congress. He rightly was livid when then-House Speaker John Boehner blocked a vote on comprehensive immigration reform, saying that it was a “slap in the face to the Hispanic community, to South Florida families and to the thousands of Americans across our country.”

He went to bat for the Export-Import Bank, which was under threat of not being reauthorized, recognizing its importance to the businesses that fuel Florida’s economy.

Ms. Taddeo, 49, who runs a business called LanguageSpeak, is a stalwart Democrat who in 2012 sought to replace popular long-time Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and in 2014 was Charlie Crist’s running mate for lieutenant governor. She also made an unsuccessful run for the Miami-Dade County Commission.

But each time out, she failed to get much traction, and this latest run looks like one more attempt to serve in elected office — any elected office, no matter which one.

The two candidates are in sync on several issues: They back the new U.S. relationship with Cuba; want to keep guns out of the hands of those on the terrorist watch list and would fight attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

The former congressman has shown himself to be a committed fighter for his constituents. In District 26, the Herald recommends JOE GARCIA.


Democratic primary

Three candidates are vying to unseat veteran Republican U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Scott Fuhrman, 34, is president of a small, third-generation family business that bottles organic fruit juices; Adam Sackrin, 28, an attorney and political activist who worked for the Bernie Sanders campaign; and Frank Perez, who did not meet with the Editorial Board.

This race for a district that stretches from North Bay Village to Cutler Bay and was redrawn to lean slightly Democratic, is unusual because Mr. Fuhrman, the perceived front runner with deep pockets, has had brushes with the law, including 18 traffic tickets.

How is he handling that reality? He put out a campaign commercial on the web detailing all his criminal and traffic offenses — with an explanation: “When I was younger, I made some bad decisions. I drove too fast, I raced cars and I broke the law. I put myself and other people at risk. I made some stupid choices. Simple as that.”

The most serious offense occurred in 2009 in Boulder, Colorado. Mr. Fuhrman, then 27, was charged with driving under the influence and prohibited use of a weapon. But Mr. Fuhrman, now married and a father, says he’s not that person anymore. He’s worked for Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, former presidential candidate John Kerry and President Obama.

Mr. Fuhrman said he would work to ensure paid family leave for workers; pass common-sense gun laws and protect Social Security and Medicare.

Mr. Sackrin says Congress needs new blood and new ideas. He would work to end standardized testing and says the Affordable Care Act is flawed and needs fixing.

Despite Mr. Fuhrman’s legal skirmishes, he has a tad more political experience. For District 27 in the Democratic primary, the Herald recommends SCOTT FUHRMAN.


Republican primary

As her challengers point out, U.S. Rep Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has been in Congress for decades and has a target on her back this year, since the Republican ticket is led by the controversial Donald Trump. Ms. Ros-Lehtinen is being challenged by David Adams, 36, and Maria Peiro, 44, a Miami-Dade teacher. Both are newcomers to politics, who say the district needs fresh representation.

“I would bring new ideas to the district,” said Mr. Adams. And Ms. Peiro says that the incumbent has drifted from the true Republican agenda.

Ms. Ros-Lehtinen brushes away any mention that she’s lost her fire. And in a meeting with the Editorial Board, the passion was still there.

Plus, the Board applauds her ability to find compromise and work across the aisle in this gridlocked Congress.

Ms. Ros-Lehtinen, first elected in 1989, has expanded her agenda from Cuba issues to the environment, immigration and transgender concerns. And she continues to offer stellar constituent service.

For District 27 in the Republican primary, the Herald recommends ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN.


Wednesday’s recommendation of Dwight Bullard misstated his district, which is state Senate District 40.