/*get flag library for language switcher*/

General Election - November 8

The LWV Voters’ Guide 2016 includes candidates in contested races from opposing parties as well as those with No Party Affiliation who are on November 8 General Election ballot. It provides candidate answers to biographical and policy questions posed by the League of Women Voters of Miami-Dade Education Fund.  

The League of Women Voters does not endorse or oppose any candidate or political party. All candidates, regardless of party affiliation, were asked to participate in the development of this guide by responding to an emailed questionnaire. Candidate replies are reproduced exactly as submitted, without editing or verification. Responses are provided for those candidates who took the time to respond.

Candidates who chose not to reply to the LWV Voters’ Guide 2016 are noted as "CANDIDATE DID NOT RESPOND."  According to the LWV USwhen candidates do not reply, it is the voters who lose as they do not know where the candidate stands on the issues.


  • Tuesday, November 8, 2016
  • Early Voting: October 24 – November 6, 2016

Your choice will help select your representative in the U.S. Senate, U.S Congress, the Florida Legislature and Senate, the County Mayor, and Miami-Dade County Public School. During the November 8 General Election, voters may vote for any candidate representing any political party or no party affiliation.


The League of Women Voters of FLorida and Miami-Dade County have taken a position on Amendment 1, but have not taken a position for Amendments 2 Medical Marijuana, 3 Tax Exemption for disabled first responders, and 5 Homestead Exemption for low-income seniors. Analysis of each question is provided below. You may also download a PDF version of the guide to amendments.

Additionally, Florida voters will decide on whether to retain three Florida Justices. The League supports a strong, independent judiciary as essential to render impartial decisions based on the Constitution, the law, and the facts. The League opposes efforts to politicize the judiciary and weaken its status as a co-equal and independent branch of government.

  • A YES vote means you want the judge or justice to stay in office.
  • A NO vote means you want the judge or justice to be removed from office.

The majority of voters decides.


          Download  a PDF version of the fact sheet. 

         Download a PDF version of the fact sheet. 

The League recommends a "NO" vote. 

According to Justice Barbara Pariente, "The biggest problem with the proposed amendment lies not with what the ballot summary says, but with what it does not say. There is ALREADY a right to use solar equipment for individual used by the Florida Constitution and Florida statutes. The proposed amendment gives the government MORE rights to regulate solar energy use and establish regulatory power as a constitution right in Florida. This ballot initiative is the proverbial wolf in sheep's clothing."

Synopsis:  Amendment 1 is the utility-backed response to a third solar initiative that failed to make the 2016 ballot but would have allowed Floridians to buy power directly from third-party solar providers. The full ballot title for Amendment 1 is “Rights of Electricity Consumers Regarding Solar Energy Choice.” It essentially would enshrine in the state Constitutionexisting laws on solar energy, which opponents say have blocked solar growth in favor of existing utility companies like Duke Energy and Florida Power & Light by helping ensure their monopoly on the sale of power to Floridians. Supporterscounter that the amendment is needed to ensure state and local governments can pass regulations that protect solar-power consumers as well as utility customers. A central issue is Florida’s current ban on the third-party sale of electricity. In most other states companies are allowed to install solar panels on homes or businesses and then sell the power directly to the consumer, bypassing utilities altogether. Florida is one of only a handful of states that prohibit consumers from buying power directly from third-party solar providers. A divided Florida Supreme Court approved the ballot’s wording in a 4-3 vote on March 31, 2016. You can read the justices’ majority and dissenting opinions here. If passed, Amendment 1 would take effect immediately.

A YES vote on Amendment 1 would:

  • Put existing statutory language into the state constitution, making it difficult to change future solar energy policy in statute due to a possible conflict with the constitutional language adopted.
  • Establish a constitutional rather than statutory right for consumers to own or lease solar-power equipment on their property to generate electricity for their own use, leaving out the ability for third-party providers to install solar equipment on their homes or businesses and then sell that power directly back to the consumers, bypassing the major utilities.
  • Create an assumption that those who use solar power are being subsidized by non-solar utility customers for the cost of providing backup power and electric grid access and not paying enough for the upkeep of the transmission and distribution system. It then creates a constitutional mandate that state and local governments regulate solar power generators and users to correct the subsidy, potentially leading to increased costs to solar users.
  • Not explicitly prevent Florida consumers from entering into contracts with a third-party solar provider, but possibly erecting barriers through its definitions and mandate for regulation.

A NO vote on Amendment 1 would:

  • Leave in Florida statutes the right for consumers to own or lease solar-power equipment on their property to generate electricity for their own use.
  • Leave open the possibility that homeowners and businesses could buy or lease solar-power equipment.
  • Halt a potential constitutional barrier to new laws that would broaden the solar-power market by allowing solar companies to sell electricity directly to consumers.
  • Protect existing rules that allow net metering, where utilities credit a retail rate to customers generating excess solar power that is returned to the electric grid.

Supporters: Duke Energy, Florida Power & Light Co.; Gulf Power Co.; Tampa Electric Co.; 60 Plus Association.

Opponents: Floridians for Solar Choice; EarthJustice; Florida Solar Energy Industries Association; Southern Alliance for Clean Energy; League of Women Voters of Florida.


Synopsis: Two years after a similar amendment narrowly failed, Amendment 2 is on the ballot to legalize the use of medical marijuana to relieve the symptoms of people afflicted with specific diseases and conditions. Amendment 2 differs from the 2014 amendment question by providing more specifics about which “debilitating medical conditions” would qualify for marijuana use by patients, with the approval of a physician. It also permits caregivers to assist patients in administering marijuana treatments and sets up a regulatory scheme, administered by the state Department of Health, that includes issuing ID cards to patients and caregivers. It does not provide legal cover to those who use marijuana outside the regulated use for medical conditions. Current state law, passed in 2014, allows the use of non-euphoric cannabis for patients with medical conditions that cause seizures and severe muscle spasms. The Legislature also passed a law this spring that allows terminally ill patients to receive prescriptions for full-strength marijuana. As of mid-April, 24 states had laws permitting the use of marijuana for medical conditions. Read more from supporters here and opponentshere.

A YES vote on Amendment 2 would:

  • Create a constitutional right for people with specific “debilitating” conditions – such as cancer, epilepsy, AIDS, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis – to use marijuana as long as a physician has certified they have one of the specified conditions.
  • Require parental consent before a minor could be certified by a physician to receive medical marijuana.
  • Permit caregivers to assist patients with marijuana treatments as long as that person possesses a caregiver identification card issued by the states. Caregivers must undergo a background check and are not allowed to use marijuana themselves.
  • Require patients and caregivers to get a state-issued ID.
  • Retain state and federal prohibitions on recreational marijuana use, as well as prohibitions on operating vehicles and boats while under the influence.
  • Create “medical marijuana treatment centers” to cultivate and dispense drugs to certified patients or caregivers.
  • Shield physicians from criminal or civil actions for issuing patient certifications.

A NO vote on  Amendment 2 would:  

  • Not impact the current limited medical marijuana laws in Florida, including those passed in 2014 and 2016.
  • Not allow patients with debilitating conditions, and not deemed terminally ill, access to medical marijuana as a prescribed treatment by their doctor.
  • Have no effect on current laws prohibiting the recreational use of marijuana.

Supporters: John Morgan, Orlando lawyer; Florida Democratic PartyService Employees International Union, American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, AFL-CIO, Florida NAACP, Medical Marijuana of Florida, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

Opponents: Florida Chamber of Commerce; Drug Free Florida Committee.


Synopsis: Florida’s Constitution already grants a property-tax exemption to the spouses of first responders who die in the line of duty. Amendment 3 authorizes the Legislature to extend that exemption to first responders who are “totally and permanently disabled” from injuries they received in the line of duty. First responders are defined under existing law as police and correctional officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and paramedics. The Senate and House voted unanimously to place this amendment on the ballot. State officials did not estimate how much the new exemption might cost local governments from lost property tax revenue. If approved by voters, the amendment would take effect on Jan. 1, 2017, but would still need approval by the Legislature to become law. You can read the full text of the amendment hereand a bill analysis here.

A YES vote on Amendment 3 would:

  • Authorize the Legislature to grant a property tax exemption on homestead property to first responders who are totally and permanently disabled from injuries sustained in the line of duty.
  • Allow the Legislature to decide whether the exemption should provide full or partial relief from property taxes.
  • Require a determination that the first responder’s disability was caused by his or her service in the line of duty.
  • Have an undetermined impact on local property tax revenues.

A NO vote on Amendment 3 would:

  • Not extend property tax exemptions to first responders who became totally and permanently disabled in the line of duty.
  • Not have an impact on local-government tax revenue.

Supporters & Opponents: There does not appear to be any organized support or opposition.


Synopsis: Amendment 5 would ensure that low-income seniors who qualify for an additional homestead exemption as longtime residents do not lose that exemption if the value of their property rises. The exemption to the state Constitution was originally approved by voters in 2012. The law currently allows cities and counties to grant a full exemption from property taxes to people with the same age and income limits if: 1) the homeowner is 65 or older, 2) annual household income didn’t exceed $28,448 in 2015 (income limits are adjusted annually for inflation), 3) the just (market) value of their property is less than $250,000 and, 4) the homeowner has lived there for at least 25 years. The original intent was to ensure that long-time, low-income seniors don’t lose their homes because they can’t pay the tax bill. But seniors who now get the exemption would lose it if their home value tops $250,000. Amendment 5, which passed the House and Senate unanimously, would lock in the exemption permanently once a senior qualifies, regardless of how much the property increases in value. The amendment would take effect on Jan. 1, 2017, but is retroactive to 2013, which means a senior who qualified for the exemption in 2013, but lost it, would regain the exemption. You can read the full text of the amendment here and a bill analysis here.

A YES vote on Amendment 5 would:

  • Ensure that low-income seniors who qualify for a city- or county-approved property tax exemption do not lose that exemption if the value of their home exceeds the $250,000 limit.
  • Be retroactive to include seniors who received the exemption starting in 2013.
  • Cost cities and counties that currently grant the exemption an estimated $2.3 million in fiscal year 2016-17; $500,000 in 2017-18; and eventually $1.2 million in 2020-21.

A NO vote on Amendment 5 would:

  • Retain the property tax exemption for low-income seniors who are longtime residents, but not ensure they keep it if property values rise.
  • Not provide retroactive tax relief to low-income seniors who had the tax exemption but lost it after their home value exceeded $250,000.
  • Not cost cities and counties additional revenue from this property-tax exemption.  

Supporters & Opponents: There does not appear to be any organized support or opposition.


For United States Senate canidate information click on the candidate name links below. This information is provided by the League of Women Voters of Florida.


Patrick Murphy (DEM)


Marco Rubio (REP)

  • Mr. Rubio chose not to respond to LWVF Voter Guide questionnaire. A link to Ballotpedia has been provided.


Paul Stanton (LIB)

  • Mr. Stanton chose not to respond to LWVF Voter Guide questionnaire. A link to Ballotpedia has been provided.


Basil Dalack (NPA)

  • Mr. Dalack chose not to respond to LWVF Voter Guide questionnaire. A link to Ballotpedia has been provided.


Tony Khoury (NPA)


Steven Machat (NPA)


Bruce Nathan (NPA)



The House of Representatives has equal legislative functions and powers with the Senate; however only the House may originate revenue and appropriation bills, shares power with the Senate to levy taxes, borrow money, regulate interstate commerce and declare war. 2-year term.

All candiates were asked the following questions:

  • BACKGROUND: Why are you running for this office and what qualities, training, experience and skills do you bring to this position?
  • GUN VIOLENCE: Do you believe the Second Amendment leaves room for limits on gun rights? Would you favor a ban on assault weapons? Limit on firearms purchases by someone who is under suspicion of terrorist activities?
  • AFFORDABLE HEALTHCARE ACT: Do you support its continuation? If you favor modification or replacement, what kind of changes do you favor?
  • IMMIGRATION: What is your plan on immigration? on reform? the undocumented? and on refugee asylum?



Martin “Marty” Feigenbaum (REP) 

  • Candidate did not Respond


Debbie Wasserman Schultz (DEM)

I ran and continue to run for Congress because I believe that one person can make a difference. I have pushed for programs that represent the priorities of all of South Florida’s families, not just a select few. I will continue to push for job creation and tax policies that benefit small businesses and working families. I firmly believe that as a mother of school age children, the voice of my generation is significantly underrepresented in Congress. Therefore I have continually raised many issues that are unique to my generation that need to be raised in the Congress; issues such as pool safety, protection of children from internet predators, and equal pay for equal work and providing a safe and secure future for our children. As a woman and a mother, I bring an important perspective to these issues every day. 
Additionally, I have been a strong advocate for my constituents on issues important to them, such as fighting to protect Medicare and Social Security, improving the affordability, quality of and access to health care, fighting to expand access to affordable student loans and protecting our environment by standing up and achieving progress on Everglades restoration programs and fighting offshore oil drilling. As a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, I have successfully secured resources for local, state and federal programs to improve the quality of life for my constituents, Floridians and Americans. 


The gun violence epidemic is unacceptable. It is long past due for every public official in America to stand up for common-sense gun safety measures that we know help keep guns out of the wrong hands and have the support of an overwhelming majority of Americans. I support universal background checks, a federal ban on assault weapons, and closing the outrageous loophole that allows a suspected terrorist to purchase a gun. I strongly support overturning the federal ban on gun violence research. 


I am a strong supporter of the Affordable Care Act. As a young breast cancer survivor, I learned that you never know what may come your way. Every American deserves comprehensive, affordable health insurance. We need the Florida Legislature to pass Medicaid expansion for the more than 800,000 Floridians who desperately need it. Congress should focus on building on our progress as the law is implemented, and I will continue to look at ways to ensure we can attain fully universal and affordable coverage for all Americans. 


I am committed to passing comprehensive immigration reform that reflects our heritage as a nation of immigrants. Under our current patchwork of policies, millions of our fellow brothers and sisters are living in the shadows, outside of the system and in fear of being separated from their families. Comprehensive immigration reform must ensure that our nation’s immigration system is a driver of economic prosperity, provides security for our borders, and protects American workers. 
Undocumented immigrants should be given the opportunity to integrate into American society through an earned pathway to citizenship, as long as they pay their taxes, undergo background checks, and follow the legal process to become a citizen. This nation's character and history are founded on the backs of families fleeing persecution and seeking refuge; we must uphold these values. We have a robust and thorough vetting process already in place to ensure that we can support those who truly need protection and safety. 



Mario Diaz-Balart (REP)

  • Candidate did not Respond


Alina Valdez (DEM)

I decided to run for Congress because I am concerned about the dysfunction that is present in DC where no meaningful legislation is being passed to help the working people of this country.  There is too much obstruction to do so and the politicians are no longer representing their constituents but rather the special interest that pay to keep them in office.  Income inequality has been widening in spite of record gains in the stock market and the workers are not receiving wages to allow them to live with dignity and independence.  Many jobs, especially in manufacturing, are being outsourced and we have basically become a consumer society with little prospects for meaningful employment.
Being a Cuban immigrant who had hope and the opportunity that his country is known for globally, I was able to get an education which allowed me to become not only the first college graduate but also the first medical doctor in my family.  Working for over 30 years in under-served and marginalized communities in the inner cities, mostly caring for Latinos, I have seen the plight of the working poor and the uninsured in trying to make a decent living for themselves and their families while trying to give their children a better future.  The many stories I have heard from these folks gives me a unique skill set that will allow me to advocate for their needs.


I believe the second amendment would not be infringed by having reasonable gun regulations like universal background checks so that law-abiding citizens’ rights are protected while keeping guns legally out of the hands of felons and those on terrorist lists.  I also feel that the public sector is not a place for military type weapons like assault rifles and high capacity magazines.  In a civilized society where guns are to be used for self-protection and recreational purposes, sensible gun laws and loophole closures would not impact law-abiding citizens’ rights and would make them harder to get for those who seek weapons foe nefarious purposes.


I believe that we need to reintroduce the public option to give people the opportunity to enroll in Medicare with the goal of a one payer system that will cover all from birth to death.  This will remove the for-profit system presently in effect since it does not meet the criteria of offering accessible health care to all at a reasonable cost.  The insurance companies, including BigPharma are in the business of making money and health care is a human right that must be available to all.  By having a one-payer system, we will significantly lower the cost by removing a large amount of administrative overhead since the investment will be in direct patient care while allowing better negotiations of drug prices with the pharmaceutical industry.  


I favor immigration reform that provides a path to citizenship for those who are not documented, have not broken any other laws, and are members in good standing of their communities as the only humane solution to an issue that has a human face.  I feel that families need to remain together and many have American born children who would be left without parents if they are deported, which would also involve an astronomical cost that I do not believe is tenable.  These folks would pay a determined penalty; have a waiting period for citizenship if they wish it; be able to obtain their papers so they could participate fully in society; and pay taxes.  The borders need to be protected but not by building another wall but by strongly enforcing the laws already present.  We can also make it harder for companies to employ people without proper documentation once those already present for a determined amount of time are properly accounted for.  Refugee asylum should be handled on a case by case or group by group basis depending on the political global environment.

PO Box 823297
Pembroke Pines, FL 33082-3297



Carlos Curbelo (REP) 

  • Candidate did not Respond


Joe Garcia (DEM)

I’m running because I care deeply about my community. It’s the community where I grew up, where I was educated and where I worked, raised my family and lived my entire life. When I was in Congress, I pushed past partisan politics to get things done for the families of South Florida because this is our home.

I sponsored the only bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill in the 113th Congress and secured 200 cosponsors. When radical Republican leadership refused to call a vote on this legislation, I led a group of lawmakers in asking President Obama to move forward with Executive Actions, resulting in DAPA and DACA+.

I fought Republicans who tried to defund Planned Parenthood because a woman’s right to choose is sacred. I stood by the Affordable Care Act and voted over 20 times against attempts to repeal the law.

As the congressman from the everglades and Florida Keys, I understand how climate change and rising sea levels can impact our lives. I defended our environment and the EPA safeguards that protect our ecosystem from corporate polluters and secured $200 million for everglades restoration projects and $2 million for Keys water quality projects because the environment and access to clean water is a priority for our community.

South Florida’s economy is experiencing record growth, but too many people are getting left behind by low wages and widening inequality. I want to see an increased minimum wage and focus on education, job training and economic growth so we can have good, quality jobs.  We can’t turn this country around if Congress continue to give millions of dollars in handouts to big corporations instead of making government work for everyone. We need a change.

I have striven to bring about that change throughout my entire career—whether working on the Florida Public Service Commission to successfully lower utility bills for all Floridians or serving President Obama as a director in the Department of Energy to do the same for all American families. As President and Executive Director of the Cuban American National Foundation, I worked to advance human rights in Cuba and throughout South America.

I'm running because I believe Congress is broken, and it takes people with real progressive ideals and a record of delivering in order to find solutions to the most difficult challenges facing our country. I want to continue to be that voice for my community. 


All rights come with responsibilities and the Second Amendment is no exception. 
In recent years we have seen an increase in shootings resulting in senseless death. We need to take this seriously and take real action.  I am disappointed in my opponent who voted against the ban on assault weapons for people on the terrorist watch list.  
I have been a long-time supporter of common sense gun control, especially when it comes to keeping guns out of the hands of terrorists, criminals, domestic abusers, and the mentally ill. When speaker Boehner refused to hold any votes on gun reform I joined 135 other members of Congress in a letter demanding he end his silence on our country’s rampant gun violence. 
Today, I continue to support gun reform that keeps all people safe. I believe no one who is on a terrorist watch list should be allowed to purchase a gun. I am in favor of background checks for all gun sales and transfers. I also support doing away with loopholes. When you buy or sell a car, you are required to keep proper documentation of that transaction, purchasing a deadly firearm should be no different. 
We also need to pass laws to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and stalkers. The Florida Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board has reported that 56% of all domestic violence homicides in the state from 2006-2012 were committed with a gun. We need to ensure that we don’t allow already dangerous circumstances to turn deadly. 
Finally, I am in favor of an assault weapons ban. No person should be able to go into a school, church or nightclub with military-grade weapons and cause devastating harm before our police officers even have a chance to respond. 


I absolutely support the continuation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In fact, I voted over 20 times in Congress to protect and improve Obamacare when Republicans tried to repeal and dismantle the law.  We must continue to improve the system under the ACA, but the reality is that our healthcare system is more fair and efficient today than ever before. Today, 20 million more people are insured in America because of the President’s healthcare law. In the past 3 years, South Florida enrolled more people under Obamacare than any other region in the country proving the need for affordable healthcare in our community. 
In addition, we can continue to improve the system under the ACA. Most importantly, we need to expand coverage to the 30 million people who remain uninsured. Part of the solution is demanding governors expand Medicaid for vulnerable families. When Governor Rick Scott refused to expand Medicaid, 1.2 million Floridians were left behind, uninsured. Passing immigration reform that provides a pathway to citizenship for undocumented residents also allows them to access to the healthcare marketplace is another part of the solution to get people coverage. Alternately, a Public Option is the best way to get all people covered and one that I would support.
In short, I believe the Affordable Care Act should be protected and expanded. All Americans should have access to affordable quality healthcare.


I was fortunate to have been the lead sponsor of the last bipartisan Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) bill to be filed in the U.S. House of Representatives. Through our efforts, we were able to secure 200 cosponsors and would have passed CIR had Republican leadership in the House allowed a vote on the bill. When leadership blocked the bill, I led a group of lawmakers in asking President Obama to move forward with Executive Actions that resulted in his taking actions to implement policies from my reform bill, DAPA and DACA+.
As the son of Cuban immigrants and as a candidate for Congress in a district with one of the largest immigrant populations in the US, I'm passionate about making the system work for all Americans. I believe that CIR is needed to keep American families together.  Deportation of students and children who have lived here their whole life in America is not the answer to our problems.  I fought for Dreamers and believe that allowing them to stay in the US and giving them the ability to pay taxes and grow our economy is the best solution for the United States. More than 50% of South Florida small businesses are owned by immigrants and passing comprehensive immigration reform means more people can start small businesses and grow the US economy.
A pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants was a staple of the CIR legislation I sponsored in Congress. Reforms to our refugee and asylum processing system are also necessary. As part of these reforms, we must adjust the status of immigrants currently in the country under Temporary Protected Status (TPS). All the people who have languished under TPS for years should have a pathway to permanent status. Additionally we need to create a special adjudication process for Venezuelans asylum seekers. The U.S. has always been a beacon of opportunity for people escaping persecution and should be no different now. 
I am proud to have fought for comprehensive immigration reform in Congress. With the support of the voters, I intend to continue those efforts and finally pass legislation that helps South Florida families, keeps families together and grows the economy.



Jose Peixoto (NPA)

  • Candidate did not respond



Scott Fuhrman (DEM)

South Florida, and the country as a whole, is in need of new leadership unafraid to say that climate change is real, reversible, and urgent to our attention. Our district needs new thinking ready to bring the postal service into the 21st Century through postal banking that can help our brothers and sisters most in need, to allowing door sale delivery of alcoholic beverages, and more. Our congress needs a shakeup via leaders who are ready to take on student debt and address our foreign relations with a diplomatic mind and a steady hand. Our communities need legislators ready to advocate for a massive rebuild of our crumbling and dated infrastructure including high-speed rails, new roads and bridges, and working towards more renewable energy consumption; bringing new, decent paying jobs along the way. Our schools need advocates to strengthen the value of our teachers and the funding for our schools to ensure every American, regardless of zip code, can have the same opportunities to learn and succeed.
My family has achieved the American Dream and our business success has helped hundreds of families over the years achieve it too. I’m running for the House of Representatives to advocate for structural change and new jobs to help every American, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual identity have the opportunity to have a fair shake at the destiny we call the American Dream.

I am a gun owner and a believer in the existence of the 2nd amendment, but I also understand that our current gun culture bears some responsibility for the rise in mass shootings like the heartbreaking attack targeting our LGBT+ community in Orlando. I, like a majority of Americans, support common-sense gun regulations. That includes banning gun sales to people on the terror watch list -- given means by which a wrongly-listed person can appeal both the no-fly list and the no-gun list, as to ensure due process -- because if you’ve been deemed too dangerous to board an airplane, you have got to be seen as too dangerous to buy a gun.
Universal background checks are a must and in Congress I will stand up for what more than 80% of Americans feel is needed to keep our communities safe. That means, through legislation from a Congress willing to act, we need to close the hobbyist and gun show loopholes.

Absolutely, but modifications are needed to make the ACA a living policy policy that adapts as health care advances. Health care is a human right and the goal should be universal coverage for all Americans. The ACA is a good start at 90% coverage, and we must build upon it to reach the goal. A renewed push to bring the public option amendment back is a great example of one of the modifications needed to keep private insurers competitive on prices. Allowing Congress to negotiate prescription drug prices is another. Without negotiation, the American people are the ones who primarily lose out. Ultimately, see the ACA moving towards a model that Senator Sanders gained so much support by advocating for on behalf of the still millions of Americans locked out of proper health care access.
We need a congress with the understanding that preventative health care is far less expensive than reactive or emergency care, and that the more people who have insurance the less people will have to resort to emergency care, saving the country many billions of dollars. That takes a change in perspective, and I think our district is ready for that change.

Immigrants make this country stronger. It was disheartening to see the Supreme Court overturn DAPA because breaking up families through deportation is a human tragedy. It’s a disservice to justice, leaves a moral blindspot in our immigration policy, and goes against the ideals upon which this nation was founded. The Statue of Liberty’s other name is the Mother of Exiles and I’m proud to live in a country where people from other nations are willing to risk their lives to get here. We should welcome them with open arms, not demonize them for political gain. We need a compassionate pathway to citizenship that is also prudent for the management of our federal budget. We need to have a more compassionate approach for our refugee program and understand that turmoil is what brings people to seek asylum in the first place. That cannot be the reason we turn our backs on them.
The amount of unfounded resources we waste on witch hunts for families trying to make a better life is all less funding we could be using to keep our children safe, fed, and educated; less money we can use to end homelessness; less money we can be using for our vets after they come back home. Furthermore, referring to humans as “illegals” is a dehumanizing and shameful tactic, and I was extremely disappointed that Rep. Ros-Lehtinen supported Paul Ryan for Speaker after he swore to stalwart immigration reform. It’s imperative that the 115th Congress takes up comprehensive immigration reform to stop the shattering of immigrant families through deportation and I plan on being on the right side of history on this issue.



Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (REP)

  • Candidate did not respond



The Florida Senate is the upper house of the legislature of the state of Florida. Along with the House of Representatives it comprises the Florida Legislature. After census, draw congressional and legislative districts. The Florida Constitution establishes the legislature’s powers and duties that include passing laws, developing annual state budget and making investigations. 

4-year term; term limits 8 years. 40 Senate seats.

All candidates were asked the following questions:

  • BACKGROUND: Why are you running for this office and what qualities, training, experience and skills do you bring to this position?
  • GUN VIOLENCE: Do you believe the Second Amendment leaves room for limits on gun rights? What protections do you favor? Your view on background checks and loopholes?
  • EDUCATION: Do you favor current student performance and school and teacher measurement and evaluation? How can Florida best improve outcomes? 
  • ENVIRONMENT: How do you propose to protect our water supply, Biscayne Bay, the Everglades National Park? Please specify.



Rene Garcia (REP)

  • Candidate did not respond


Anabella Grohoski Peralta (DEM)

  • Candidate did not respond



Mercedes Christian (NPA)

  • Candidate did not respond


Miguel Diaz de la Portilla (REP)

Committed civic leaders work for the common good. I have already served the public as a leader, and not as a politician. Our citizens care about the community and need visionary, ethical and principled leaders who can effectively get things accomplished. That has been my record for over 20 years of public service. It is why I proudly run for reelection.

As to my skills, I would highlight two: First, I am one of the few public officials who rises above rank partisanship to accomplish the mandates of the electorate. We are not elected to fight each other. We are elected to fight for an agenda that works for the citizens. I know how to work well with others. Second, many political leaders have no sense of how to get things done and passed in the Capitol. They often mistake rhetoric as a substitute for results. I believe results count.


As Chairman of the Florida Senate's Judiciary Committee, I single handedly stopped the open carry and campus carry bills which passed the Florida House of Representatives easily.  I stood for common sense gun laws at great expense, as those who disagree with me pushed back hard. I never wavered. As to the three questions, the answers are straightforward: yes, yes and yes.


Our public schools need to be successful and properly supported. Obsession with over testing, mandated curriculums, and disempowering classroom teachers will not work. We need to support teachers and great public schools. Our teachers deserve compensation that is commensurate with their level of responsibility. We need to increase teachers' salaries. We also have the right to hold public schools accountable using fair, effective, and jointly designed criteria. We see this happening more and more at MDCPS as we respect our school district's autonomy and as we listen to teachers,support staff,  parents, the community, and students. It's not a blame game, but rather a partnership for the future of our children and adult students. Genuine collegiality and joint responsibility lead to  improved outcomes.


I live here too. It is shocking when leaders ignore the environment and play politics with science. Political leadership and conviction is needed to protect the environment . Overall the state's environmental record must be improved. Specially, we need to reverse the ERC's recent vote and increase water quality standards. We need to strengthen our laws to make polluters ever more responsible for their damage. We need to fully fund Amendment 1. Lastly, there needs to be full implementation of CERP.


Jose Javier Rodriguez (DEM)

By voting Jose Javier Rodriguez on Nov. 8th, District 37 voters can expect me to continue working hard every day for them. After serving in the US Peace Corps in West Africa and earning a degree from Harvard Law School in 2006, I turned down the big law firms and came back home to Miami to work in the community defending the rights of those who cannot afford lawyers.
In 2012, I was elected to District 112 in the Florida House to represent residents of the City of Miami, City of Coral Gables and Village of Key Biscayne and currently serve as the Vice-Chair of the Miami-Dade Legislative Delegation. District 112 forms the center of, and is completely within the boundary of, the newly-created Senate District 37.
For the last four years I have had the honor of representing my neighbors and constituents in the State House. In that time I stayed close to residents, working on issues in the district; labored hard to successfully advance policy in Tallahassee benefitting us; and battled powerful interests to protect us from bad policy.
The State Senate is a much bigger platform to continue that work advocating on behalf of my constituents. It is also a unique opportunity to serve in a brand new state Senate seat created by the Fair Districts process.


The rights granted individuals by the Second Amendment leave room for reasonable limitations. I have been an advocate for gun safety laws during my entire legislative career and have been instrumental in helping to halt ill-advised policies that would have made local law enforcement’s job more difficult here at home. I do favor a reasonable assault weapons ban, reasonable limitations on suspected terrorists purchasing firearms and universal background checks. 
My opponent, Diaz de la Portilla, has a long history of supporting gun policies that make our communities less safe. As a County Commissioner, in 2000 he voted against a commonsense ordinance that required all guns stored on county property to be equipped with child safety locks. In the Legislature, Diaz de la Portilla voted for HB 45 in 2011, preempting any locally passed gun ordinances. The same year he also supported the so-called “Docs & Glocks” bill, prohibiting doctors from discussing proper gun safety procedures with their patients. This year he voted for SB 344 which, if passed, would have shifted the burden to the prosecution to disprove a Stand Your Ground defense; and then when many of us voted to convene a special session to pass gun safety legislation in the wake of the Pulse night club tragedy, Diaz de la Portilla did not support it.


Florida suffers from an overemphasis on measurement and testing. I have and will continue to work toward reforms that make sure we are focused on supporting students, schools and teachers that need help the most rather than penalize them; and make sure we are measuring the right things for the right reasons rather than testing for testing’s sake. 

The Florida Constitution tasks the Legislature with making “adequate provision” for education and I believe the Legislature fails in that regard. I have been at the forefront in the House in the last four years to reprioritize education in our state funding, a critical component to making sure we are able to support the students, schools and teachers that need the Legislature to do their part. On the other hand, my opponent, Diaz de la Portilla, supported and voted for Governor Scott's $1.3 billion education cut in 2011. 


Effective advocates for their constituents need to know how and when to fight hard when it's needed; but also know how and when it's time to dig in, compromise, build consensus and get things done. I am passionate about water and environmental policy, areas that happen to be a good example of balancing those two approaches.
First, on the failure to implement Amendment 1, I was among the most vocal. Second, on bad water policy that will hurt our state for decades to come, I was not just among the most vocal but was out on my own as one of only two in the entire Legislature to actively and publicly push back. Finally, I have been out front, virtually alone among my legislative colleagues, in holding Florida Power and Light accountable for failures at Turkey Point that threaten South Florida ecosystems and our drinking water.
With respect to Everglades restoration, I have been vocal in advocating for the purchase of land south of Lake Okeechobee to be able to send water south. On probably the only positive piece of legislation favoring Everglades restoration in recent years, the Legacy Florida Bill, I worked closely with Republican colleagues on its passage as their only Democrat collaborator for most of the bill's journey.



Phillip J. Brutus (NPA)

  • Candidate did not respond


Daphne Campbell (DEM)

  • Candidate did not respond



Anitere Flores (REP)

As a lifelong resident, wife and mother, and someone who grew up in South Florida, I want to continue to be an advocate for the people of District 39. Some of the most rewarding aspects of my time in the Florida Legislature for the past 12 years have been being able to protect funding for Jackson Memorial Hospital, fighting for lower property insurance costs, being a champion for the environment by preserving the Everglades and opposing fracking, and ensuring that Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Miami-Dade College, and FIU receive the funding they need. While I am proud of what I have been able to accomplish during my time in the legislature, I am not done fighting for my community.


As the only Republican in the senate to vote for a special session in the aftermath of the Orlando nightclub massacre, I know that we must have a serious conversation on gun safety. One of the most important aspects is to improve the communication between state and federal departments to avoid incidents like Orlando and others where an individual who had been questioned multiple times by federal authorities still had access to a gun because state officials were not informed. Our state and nation, can and must, find a balance between the second amendment and ensuring that criminals and others suspected of dangerous activities do not have access to weapons.


In response to concern over imposing a national curriculum for local students, Florida adopted state specific standards and has given local counties flexibility in implementation. I am proud that Miami-Dade County's students continue to excel academically. I continue to support increased funding for our public schools, and have been a champion for Miami-Dade County Public Schools in sponsoring and passing the district’s priority legislation that provides them with flexibility and increased funding.


I stand with Senate President Negron’s announcement that the state needs to prioritize the funding necessary to restore Lake Okeechobee. I am committed to continuing to work closely with environmental experts to figure out a solution that will protect and preserve the Everglades. I have been a vocal and consistent voice to stop fracking in our state. I led the Senate investigation into the seepage from the cooling canal system surrounding Turkey Point, which led to FPL’s agreement to stop the leakage as well as retract the saltwater plume created. I also passed the Florida Keys Stewardship Act which provides funding for Florida Bay, as well as was a leading voice for the passage of the Legacy Florida Act which provides $200 million per year for Everglades restoration. This is just a snapshot of my record on the environment, and I look forward continuing it in the next session.


Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (DEM)

I am a proud Hispanic immigrant and mother. I have lived in Miami for twenty years, and have spent those years improving our community by providing development assistance for non-profits – raising money for public higher education, to broaden access to healthcare, and preserve our environment, among other causes. Much of this time was spent working at FIU, where I served as an associate dean of advancement. 

I am running for Senate District 39 to fight for a Florida where public education is a genuine priority, where the rights of women are respected and protected, and where preserving our environment is more than a campaign slogan.


When I was in my twenties, my father was killed by a criminal with a gun. Because of this, I am strongly in favor of expanding background checks by closing gun show/private sale loopholes. I support a ban on assault weapons, as well as limiting firearms purchases for those on the “no-fly list”. I believe that we can respect the Second Amendment, while also preventing guns from landing in the wrong hands.  


While I appreciate the utility of standardized tests, I do not favor the rampant over-testing of our students, nor the emphasis on high-stakes tests in broader student and teacher outcomes. I believe that Florida’s public education system would benefit tremendously from improved funding. Our legislature should stop funneling tax-payer dollars into unaccountable charter schools that can abruptly close their doors and abandon struggling students in their wake. Florida’s legislature should better prioritize high-quality public education system for all Floridians.


I believe that a first step toward protecting Florida’s water supply would be the proper implementation of 2014’s Amendment 1, as voters intended. The state must purchase land south of Lake Okeechobee and redirect its water southward. This will restore the flow of clean water to Everglades National Park, Florida Bay, and the Florida Keys, all of which are in Senate District 39. We must also hold FPL accountable for the pollution of our ground water at Turkey Point nuclear plant.  And, of course, we must acknowledge that climate change exists and prepare for the threat of sea level rise on our communities. Drinking water is essential to life, and it is unacceptable that our legislature has put the needs of special interests over protecting our precious natural resources and communities. 

(305) 321-7770



Frank Artiles (REP)

  • Candidate did not respond


Dwight Bullard (DEM) 

I have had the honor of serving in the Florida Senate now for the last four years. Prior to that I served in the Florida House from 2008-2012. In my time of elected service I've noticed that the process has been void of elected leaders willing to call out injustices when they're present. Being bold as a voice for the marginalized has been a position I've relished during my time in office and it is my hope that others will show the courage to step up in a real way and join me moving forward. 


I definitely believe the 2nd Amendment leaves room for limitations. I support a repeal of the state limitations on local government as it pertains to the 2nd Amendment. I support and have proposed a repeal of "Stand Your Ground". I support stricter background checks on everyone and restrictions on those that have histories of severe mental illness or records of violent outbursts. I also support the closing of the gun show loopholes as well as the banning of guns in schools, on campuses and in public buildings. I also support a return of the national ban on assault weapons.


It does a disservice to the great work that teachers do, to connect their livelihood to a test that does not capture the scope of their work. It is also equally problematic that students should have their pathway to graduation hindered by any high stakes test let alone several over their matriculation. Lastly we have set our schools back by arbitrarily grading them based on a farce of an accountability system and  the unabated expansion of charter schools and voucher programs. I would allow teachers to teach and provide a supportive learning environment for students that includes art, music and support services like nursing and counseling onsite.


I would propose electing a Governor in 2018 that cares more about our environment than filling the pockets of his corporate cronies. I support proper use of the Amendment 1 dollars for purchase of the lands south of Lake Okeechobee and immediate clean-up of the blue-green algae blooms as well as the red blooms. I fully support and look to sponsor a statewide ban on fracking as well continuing to support a ban on offshore drilling in Florida.



The Florida House of Representatives is the lower house of the legislature of the State of Florida. The Florida Constitution establishes the legislature’s powers and duties that include passing laws, developing annual state budget and making investigations. 

Member serves 2-year term; term limits- 4 contiguous two-year terms. 120 House seats.

All candidates were asked the following questions:

  • BACKGROUND: Why are you running for this office and what qualities, training, experience and skills do you bring to this position?
  • GUN VIOLENCE: Do you believe the Second Amendment leaves room for limits on gun rights? What protections do you favor? Your view on background checks and loopholes?
  • EDUCATION: Do you favor current student performance and school and teacher measurement and evaluation? How can Florida best improve outcomes? 
  • ENVIRONMENT: How do you propose to protect our water supply, Biscayne Bay, the Everglades National Park? Please specify.



Manny Diaz, Jr. (REP)

  • Candidate did not respond


Ivette Gonzalez Petrovich (DEM)

I am running for office because I am a mom, attorney, advocate, small business woman, and moreover proud product of the public school system who, through my experience working hard to provide a good life for my family and a positive impact on the community, have found that political dysfunction is at the root of why it is so unnecessarily difficult to attain a high quality of life in South Florida. Through my career as first a prosecutor and now a criminal defense attorney I have developed a thorough understanding of the capacity for both justice and corruption in Florida’s legal and legislative system. I refuse to standby idly by while our communities take a backseat to petty partisanship and special interests. 


Almost every day in the news we see evidence of the need for commonsense gun control. The right to bear arms and gun reform are not mutually exclusive. Both at the state and federal level we need to do more to prioritize public safety. I support universal background checks and denying those on the ‘No Fly’ list the right to bear arms. We need to impose far more stringent qualifications when granting permits for assault weapons. Most importantly, we have failed at treating and supporting the mentally ill. Moreover, I firmly believe that if we addressed mental health just as we address physical health, then violence of all sorts would decline.  


The role of testing has become too consequential across different avenues like budget allocations and measurements of teacher and student performance. I believe that we need to chart a new path towards evaluating performance, as well as the consequences that testing has on the quality of educational environments. With poverty effecting 60% of students aged pre-K through 12th grade in Florida, we need to embrace the community school model in Florida. We close the achievement gap by having schools provide holistic education solutions that allow for both professional and personal enrichment. We need to make sure that our schools are equipped and our teachers are supported, so that our institutions of learning create the learning environments needed for students of all backgrounds to really thrive. 


Clean air and clean water are human rights. Being a state based at/under seal level and on limestone, I understand the urgency needed to address our water supply. It is crucial that the state legislature fund Everglades restoration so that our aquifers continue to receive freshwater. Another issue that poses a significant threat to our water supply is rock mining in the Lake Belt. The mining of limestone has become a profitable industry in Florida with a major mining operation spanning Northwest Dade and Southwest Broward. The industry used to pay a $0.45/ton fee dedicated to water mitigation in the instance that the chemicals used in the mining process leach into our water supply. Due to recent legislation filed by my opponent, that fee has been reduced to $0.05/ton by 2018. Combine this with the danger that fracking poses, and it becomes clear that Florida needs more strong environmental advocates to amass the political will needed to defend our commons.

305-358-8003 (w)
786-423-5977 (c)



Patricio Moreno (DEM)

  • Candidate did not respond


Carlos Trujillo (REP)

  • Candidate did not respond



Jose Oliva (REP)

  • Candidate did not respond


Carlos A. Puentes, Sr. (DEM)

Carlos A. Puentes Sr. was born in Cuba and grew up in Hialeah, FL. Raised on the importance of an education, I won an Army Scholarship to UM and graduated with a Public Affairs degree. From UM, I earned an Army commission and entered the US Army as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Infantry.  I served a full military career that included patrolling the DMZ in South Korea, company commander in the 82nd Airborne Division, war planner in Panama for Operation Just Cause and as an Army advisor in El Salvador. After, I returned to Florida and worked for General Electric and Dell, along with executive roles in other later companies. I’m married to Elizabeth Roberts Puentes of Richmond, Virginia and we have one child; Carlos Jr, a recent graduate of the FSU School of Law.

Following a family medical emergency and after seeing family and friends struggle with healthcare needs and other situations, I became more involved and decided it was my civic duty to run for public office.


Americans generally agree that there is a need for common sense gun safety while ensuring 2nd amendment rights are maintained. I agree with realistic and practical firearm regulations need to both be enforced and updated. If elected I will seek to pass legislation that includes placing individual on the “No fly” lists on a “No buy” registers with due process safeguards, eliminating the gun show loophole, ban on assault weapons and getting high-capacity magazines off the streets.


Education is our future, for country and youth, its communities too. Our citizens need to have expand opportunities across the spectrum of education. It includes restoring the “Bright Futures” funding cut from prior years along with seeking to expand education access at our colleges and universities. Further, reforms and changes that help reduce costs and student loan expenses are key too. At the high school level, there seems to too great an emphasis on metrics & testing at the expense of teachers and students that need rebalancing. I am concerned that our teachers are not getting the support (facilities, training, resources, tools) needed along with their compensation.


The state has cut, deferred, delayed and squandered opportunities for its communities with poor environmental management. Mismanagement due to budget cuts, reductions in staffing or eliminating whole departments and programs are dangerous. Recent examples include the toxic algae release affecting the counties on both sides of the state, the response to the sinkhole with radiated water, FPL mismanagement of Turkey Point and its water canals, increase in the allowance of toxic levels in our water supply, and misuse of amendment two funds. Policies that funds tax cuts and corporate welfare at the expense of community needs are misguided and not attractive to companies relocating. These corporations seeking to come to Florida will look at the quality of life, educational infrastructure and environmental efforts and instead go to another state. The environment is key in Florida, particularly with its effect on tourism. The environment will receive a greater focus going forward were I to come out as state representative.




Bryan Avila (REP)

  • Candidate did not respond


Sevi Miyar (DEM)

  • Candidate did not respond


Nicholas X. Duran (DEM)

I’m a born and raised Floridian with deep roots in the Miami-Dade community. I’m a graduate of the University of Florida and New York Law School. After working a few years at a Miami law firm, I took the lessons and example of my mom, a public school teacher, to heart and in 2010 became an organizer for The Children’s Movement of Florida, advocating for increased funding for outreach and access to programs that aid Florida’s children. Following a family medical emergency in 2013 that would have devastated my family if not for my family’s access to health insurance, I became State Director for Enroll America in Florida in order to ensure that every Floridian had the protections that his family enjoyed.

After helping Enroll America become the a national leader in coordinating healthcare signups and education under the Affordable Care Act, I shifted my focus to those caught in the coverage gap and became the Executive Director of the Florida Association of Free and Charitable Clinics, a position I holds today. Most importantly though, I’m a husband and married to my best friend Danielle and a lucky father to two kids Mason (5) and Michaela (2).  


There is general consensus among Americans in favor of implementing smart, effective gun laws. It’s time to act and implement effective, pragmatic gun regulations that will make our communities safer. If elected I’ll focus energies on this issue and will look pass legislation that will include an array of policies including much needed background checks on all firearm purchases, limiting the number of guns someone can buy at once, eliminating the gun show loophole and/or getting high-capacity magazines off our streets.


I believe all our state’s children, no matter what zip-code they live in, have a right to receive the highest-quality education our state provides and invests in. I believe the Common Core curriculum provides our students with the opportunity to learn to think deeper, and learn to support answers with reasoning and evidence but believe we need to strive to always ask if we are providing all our children with an environment that stimulates learning and personal growth while ensuring we support our teachers.
Our state undervalues and underpays our teachers and while we should focus on merit-based pay, we currently do not foster an environment to recruit more teachers into the profession. My mother was a public-school teacher for 32 years and retired a little over a year ago so this is is an issue that I’ve seen through her and her colleagues.


We need to renew our emphasis in recruiting high-level science based staff to join the DEP. Reinvestment and focus in ensuring we have a strong water management districts.
More specific actions to this district including continuing to support efforts to make FPL move faster toward water cooling towers replacing the cooling canals for Turkey Point. Work to reverse the recent Environmental Regulation Commission's recent decision and ensure they include the two additional members to the committee. Work against any effort trying to allow fracking in this state.



Rosa Maria “Rosy” Palomino (REP)

  • Candidate did not respond


Jonathan Parker (REP)

  • Candidate did not respond

David Richardson (DEM)

  • Candidate did not respond


Daisy J. Baez (DEM)

From serving my community to serving my country, I am committed to fighting for what is right. Underlying my success as a veteran, healthcare executive, and social worker is my passion to work for others. I bring years of managerial experience, but most importantly, I bring a unique perspective -- as someone who worked relentlessly to fulfill the promise this country offered.
I am running for House District 114 because I believe that a government that protects the middle class, supports public education, and seeks to serve all its constituents is a government worth fighting for. Tallahassee should protect and improve the quality of life for Florida families, not something that is for sale to special interest groups.
I believe that I have the background, qualifications, and experience to be a true voice for Floridians in Tallahassee.  Below is a summary for your review and consideration.

  • Economic development that brings well paid, skilled jobs to the district and Florida
  • Resolving the issue of 800,000 Floridians without access to affordable health care insurance
  • Developing collaborative strategies to improve safety and reduce crime in our communities
  • Addressing traffic and infrastructure needs in our cities that increase productivity and enhances services
  • Protecting our natural resources and water supply
  • Education funding and reforms so that all of our children can be prepared for college and beyond


  • Former Member, Board of Directors, Merrick House Museum, Coral Gables, Florida
  • Member, Barry University Graduate Health Professions Advisory Board
  • Member, Board of Directors, Dominican American National Round Table
  • Founder & Member Board of Directors, Dominican Health Care Association of Florida


  • First Dominican American to achieve nomination for Statewide office in Florida, 2014 (State House 114) after winning Democratic primary.
  • Past President, Democratic Hispanic Caucus, Miami Dade County
  • Delegate, Democratic National Convention, 2012
  • Delegate, Democratic National Convention, 2016
  • White House working group, Colombian Free Trade Agreement, White House, 3/2012
  • White House working group, Florida Leaders on the Fiscal Cliff, White House, 11/2012


  • Woman of Impact, Women History Coalition Miami Dade County
  • Hispanic Woman of Distinction, Latina Style Magazine
  • Thelma Gibson Award, Women’s Chamber of Commerce


  • U.S. Army, 1st Cavalry Division, Division Surgeon’s Office.  Honorable Discharge.
  • Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Department of Defense Certificate of Achievement, Department of the Army Certificate of Achievement, 1st Cavalry Division Soldier of the Quarter, 15th Medical Battalion Soldier of the Month.


  • M.A. Counseling, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas.
  • B.S. Social Work, University of Central Texas, Killeen, Texas.

25 year of progressive executive experience with local and national health care companies including Elements Behavioral, Inc., Larkin Community Hospital, GEO Care Inc., Metropolitan Hospital, Tenet Health Care, Select Specialty Corporation, HCA Corporation, and HealthSouth Corporation.
Yes, I will support legislation that ensures that the following are priorities:

  • Individuals subject to domestic abuse charges are not able to obtain guns
  • Individuals with mental illness are not able to obtain guns
  • The gun show loophole is closed
  • Safety training is required to obtain and register a firearm.

While I understand the utility of some standardized testing, I am against using the FSA or other forms of standardized testing as the sole measurement of achievement and teacher performance. I think student performance on assessments like the FSA are a good marker of proficiency and a good metric to compare schools, but we also need to keep in context the different learning styles and environments of our students.
A well-rounded education and exposure to a variety of subjects, interests, and experiences are the hallmarks of a well-rounded education, which is what every child in Florida deserves.
Recent events in Florida such as Algae Bloom in the St. Lucie River and connecting waterways and beaches, radiation pollution in the Turkey Point plan water canals, increase in the allowance of toxic levels in our water supply, and misuse of amendment two funds for other than its intended use are very concerning to me and will be a priority for advocacy when I reach the legislature. 
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection must ensure that it supports and enforces the many projects specifically targeted at assuring our state’s water supply and water quality. Furthermore, our State legislature should recognize the importance of monitoring, improving and maintaining the quality of water both at the source level and as a vital aspect of life in Florida.  I feel it is important that we continue to enhance water quality and guarantee water supply to Floridians through environmental regulations.  We should increase state funding for alternative water supply projects as a way to help urban municipalities with groundwater shortages and reduce the effects of drought.
305-215- 5880
P.O. Box 141642, Coral Gables, FL 33114


John Couriel (REP)

I'm running to be an advocate for the district in which I grew up, and in which my wife and I have chosen to raise our kids, because I want our community to remain a place where families like ours can thrive. That means a focus on equality of opportunity, real workforce development to provide economic resiliency, educational excellence, and accessible and affordable healthcare.  I'm a product of this place.  My folks emigrated from Cuba -- my dad as one of the 14,000 children aided by Operation Pedro Pan -- and worked hard to give us the kind of middle class lifestyle that's increasingly hard to secure.  I worked my way through Harvard College and Harvard Law School.  I chose as my partner in life someone I admire; my wife, Rebecca L. Toonkel, M.D., is a professor of medicine and pulmonary and critical care physician who trained at Harvard College, Johns Hopkins Medical School, Columbia University, and the University of Miami.  I've had a successful legal career, including as a law clerk to a federal judge, at a large law firm, and as an Assistant U.S. Attorney.  As a federal prosecutor, I helped bring to justice hundreds of felons, including human traffickers, identity thieves, Medicare fraudsters, and criminals who preyed on the elderly and our veterans.  I'm an advocate, and I'l be a forceful one for our community.
As a federal prosecutor, I prosecuted scores of firearms offenses using perfectly constitutional federal firearms statutes that our courts have consistently held do not run afoul of the Second Amendment.  I believe the vigorous enforcement of those laws, coupled with community engagement and gun buy-back programs, and robust investment in mental health initiatives, all contribute to our fight against gun violence and do not raise the serious constitutional questions that an outright ban on assault weapons or on firearm purchases by persons merely suspected of certain affiliations would raise. There is, however, a way to address legitimate terrorism concerns while respecting due process. I support the Terror Intelligence Improvement Act of 2016, introduced on September 15, 2016 by Senator Rubio, which improves information sharing among federal law enforcement agencies, and gives those agencies a window of time in which to act to prevent firearms purchases by individuals who've been, or are being, investigated for terrorist activities. 
I favor fewer tests, directed primarily if not exclusively on determining workforce readiness.   Our legislature should emphasize investments in early childhood education that have demonstrable success at making kids kindergarten-ready, especially in light of the scholarly consensus that a tremendous amount of cognitive development happens before the age of 4 years old.  And we should lead the way in keeping home-grown talent in vocational, technical, and STEM fields with greater investment in those fields, after school programs that provide assistance with homework and delinquency prevention, and life skills training.
I've never understood what being a conservative means if you're not committed to conservation.  I'm proud to have been an Eagle Scout as a kid -- for the life lessons and leadership skills, yes, but mostly because it afforded me a lot of time in critical ecosystems like the Everglades, Osceola National Forest, and the Keys. Our forests and springs are unique and irreplaceable. Efforts by the Department of Agriculture to preserve them, including the Florida Forest Legacy Program, should continue to receive appropriate support. This is especially true for wetlands restoration efforts and the prevention of nonpoint source pollution in Florida’s Silver Springs Watershed, home to the largest freshwater spring in the country. Such initiatives are necessary to protect endangered species and guarantee future access to key resources like water and timber. I believe these efforts can and must be appropriately balanced with individual property owners' rights.




Michael Bileca (REP)

  • Candidate did not respond


Jeffrey Doc Solomon (DEM)

I’ve had a sincere passion my whole life to serve people and make the lives of others better. I have done so very effectively, with my family, in my practice as a health professional, and in my community involvement. While I have thoroughly enjoyed all those roles of service, I am prepared to take my community service to a more productive level. Because of my 56 years of life experiences and much wisdom gathered, I have a tremendous amount to offer in a public leadership role in my sincere intent to support the common good of all of the citizens of Florida. I have served my community for over 33 years through volunteer efforts with youth sports as a health care provider and a coach for Optimist, YMCA, University, and Public School programs. I am presently the Vice Chair of the Pinecrest Zoning Board, and a past Vice Chair of the Miami-Dade Sports Commission. Additionally, I have served on Miami-Dade County Public Schools Health Advisory Committee representing school board member Dr. Larry Feldman. Proudly, I am also a graduate of Leadership Florida Statewide Community Foundation.


I do not support open carry laws. I believe they create fear in the mostly and preferably unarmed public. I also believe that law enforcers find open carry a threat and would prefer not to feel challenged by individuals that can compromise their effectiveness in enforcement. I am fine with concealed carry of properly trained and permitted individuals, but I support legislation that restricts the locations that one may carry a concealed gun such as schools, government, entertainment and bar locations which are dedicated to large numbers of children or where people who may be impaired by alcohol are located. I support legislation banning the purchase of assault weapons, large ammo magazines, and armor piercing ammunitions. I believe we must require background checks for all people in all circumstances including gun shows, person to person sales as well as online sales, and we should not allow anyone on a no fly list to purchase any guns unless properly vetted and cleared from the list. 


Because Common Core academics consist of goals intended to be what a student should know and be able to do at the end of each grade from K - 12. And because they were created to ensure that all students graduate from high school with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in college, career, and life, regardless of where they live. I recognize the value and need for consistent learning goals across Florida. The standards provide a clear and consistent framework for educators are evidence-based and consistent and I believe should be a standard in every school in Florida.

I believe we need to invest more in training teachers, and their administrative bosses. The quality of a child’s teacher is the single most-important school-related factor in their success. We should not focus on punishing bad teachers, but learn how to make good ones instead. Modernize the teacher’s job and don’t isolate teachers from peers. Think in terms of trade offs, not absolutes; such as extend the school year and compensated for that by making classrooms a little bigger. Let kids learn at their own pace. Get families involved earlier because early childhood education is key to kids’ achievement in the long-term. Address the issue of poverty.

Merit pay faces several key challenges and was prematurely employed. First, student outcomes are difficult to define and measure. Second, the contributions of individual teachers to student outcomes are difficult to disentangle from student background and prior achievement. Serious analysis shows significant deficiencies in several measures of teacher performance. Policy makers should not be adopting any measures without careful analysis of its properties and a plan to monitor how it is performing. The key issue is whether the incentive and sorting effects of an admittedly imperfect merit pay system can improve the quality of the teacher workforce.

Admittedly, public school jobs do offer a living wage. However, compared to other specialized jobs that involve degrees and training, the salaries don’t stack up. This is a serious, intellectual job that demands more serious pay. Census data, shows that teacher wages have declined relative to comparable private-sector workers over the past several decades. If not so, then it is curious that teaching is not an employment magnet comparable to other jobs like the financial sector.


I would start by pushing forward land purchases South of Lake Okeechobee, because environmentally harmful polluted waters contaminated by agricultural business interest is being stored in Lake Okeechobee, and because the polluted waters have been flushed out to the Gulf and Ocean creating toxic algae blooms along the waterways and coastline. The results of the flush have historically and most severely at present caused an environmental disaster that costs Florida and its citizens a fortune in damages of various sorts. The intended goal of the purchase is to stop the environmentally damaging rapid trans coastal flush, and to provide a more natural filter for the reinvigoration of a dehydrating dying Everglades environmental system by providing fresh waters that safely travel South through the purchased holding lands. It is a scientifically practical approach that serves the interest of all Floridians. What is most egregious about Gov. Scott and the state legislators neglect of purchase and follow up is that they were given a directive by the citizens of Florida through constitutional amendments to move forward on this project. They have turned their backs on the people who elected them in favor of the interest of big agricultural business that funded their political campaigns. To make matters worse the funds that have been allocated are being misappropriated and intentionally diverted by those same elected leaders. Additionally, the agreements between the state and the owners of lands intended to be purchased will expire soon and the landowners intend to use much of that land for other purposes more profitable to them in today’s market.

After consulting with environmental engineers that are experts in the area, I’ve confirmed resolution of the Lake issue would lend to the reduction of the nuclear plant salinization issue by increased depth of freshwater flow South. The approach would also require the inclusion of an Eastern flow toward the plant with appropriate flood avoidance of the South Dade agricultural lands that can be accomplished by additional projects similar to that of the Palmetto Bays Deering Flow Way further to the South. That would support the Biscayne Bays Coastal Wetlands Project in returning natural habitats, reducing salt water intrusion, and decreasing hyper salinization of Southern Biscayne Bay. The solutions are not too complicated, but the key to success of such an effort begins with the land purchases South of Lake Okeechobee.

786 412 8555



Jose Felix Diaz  (REP)

  • Candidate did not respond


Heath Rassner (DEM)

  • Candidate did not respond



Robert Asencio (DEM)

  • Candidate did not respond


David Rivera (REP)

  • Candidate did not respond



Jeannette Nunez (REP)

  • Candidate did not respond


Jennifer Pinell (DEM)

  • Candidate did not respond



Dan Horton (DEM)

  • Candidate did not respond

Holly Raschein (REP)

  • Candidate did not respond



Miami-Dade Home Rule Charter is the governing document (constitution) since 1957. County charter was amended to have a strong-mayor form of government. The mayor is charged with administering county government, appointing and firing department heads, proposing the budget. Mayor has a 4-year term; term limits – 2 consecutive terms. Non-partisan county-wide election.

All candidates were asked the following questions:

  • Why are you running for this office and what qualities, training, experience and skills do you bring to this position?
  • What do you see as the most important issues facing this office, and how would you deal with them if elected?

This run-off election between the top two candidates is taking place since no candidate achieved 50% of the vote during the Primary Election on August 30.

Carlos A. Gimenez                   

I am running for re-election of Miami-Dade County to continue moving our community forward. I have forty years of public service experience and a clearly defined governing philosophy based on transparency, efficiency and fiscal responsibility. I want to represent all Miami-Dade County residents with integrity and honesty. As Miami-Dade's highest-ranking elected official and chief administrator, I am responsible for the leadership and management of an organization (Miami-Dade County) with over 26,000 employees and an annual budget of more than $7 billion. I also oversee Miami International Airport and PortMiami, which directly or indirectly support half a million jobs in the community. In addition, I oversee the Water and Sewer Department, which has 2.3 million customers, and the Miami-Dade Police Department and Fire Rescue Department. The Police Department is the seventh largest law enforcement agency in the country and the Fire Rescue Department is the sixth largest of its kind in the United States.
Experience is listed below:           

  • Firefighter for the Miami Fire-Rescue Department for 25 years and served as Department Chief for the last 9 years. Served as the first Hispanic Chief and was named Department Chief at the age of 37;
  • Manager of the City of Miami from 2000 to 2003. Took the City's bond rating from "junk" to investment grade and left the City with more than $140 million in reserves;
  • Served as County Commissioner for seven years: first elected in 2004 and re- elected for a second term in 2008
    • Chairman of the Government Operations Committee and Chairman of the Regional Transportation Committee, overseeing Miami-Dade County’s transportation systems and championed the PortMiami tunnel project
  • Member of the International City Managers Association 
  • Member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs;
  • Member of the National Fire Protection Association;
  • Member of the Florida Fire Chiefs and the Fire Officers Association of Miami-Dade;
  • Served on the Federal Emergency Management Agency Urban Search and Rescue Advisory Committee; and
  • Chair of FEMA’s Legal Issues Subcommittee.

What do you see as the most important issues facing this office, and how would you deal with them if elected?
(1) Public Safety: Number one priority, from firefighter to Mayor.

  • Body Worn Cameras: Championed this technology before it became popular to do so by implementing a system of 1,000 body cameras for police officers. Secured a $1 million in federal grant to launch the body camera program in Miami-Dade, which now is the largest police department in the Southeast United States using them.          
  • Hiring Corrections/Police Officers: 125 new police officers were hired in 2015; 40 new police officers will be hired by the end of fiscal year 2016-2017.
  • Police Vehicles: Replace the county's police-vehicle fleet and modernized its real-time crime center.          
  • Community on Patrol Application: The Community on Patrol Application, will provide residents with the ability to anonymously report tips to the Miami-Dade Police Department Command Center, upload videos, photos and notes, as well as identify and provide the residential location of sexual offenders, file police reports
  • and commend officers -- all from your smart phone.         
  • Implemented a new program where the Miami-Dade Police Department paired officers directly with at-risk youth that were identified by our juvenile services department as being repeat or occasional offenders, to mentor and help them.

(2) Transportation:
The future of transportation in Miami-Dade County will require us to leverage new technologies while maximizing our investments in traditional infrastructure projects.

  • Led the charge to legalize the use of ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft in Miami-Dade.        
  • Championing the SMART plan for transit, which calls for six corridors (rail lines) to travel across Miami-Dade.
  • Working to enhance our county bus fleet, as well as making it more efficient by eliminating certain stops, so trips are faster.
  •  Have supported the All Aboard Florida/Tri-Rail Expansion project that will connect Miami-Dade County passengers with Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Orlando.
  • Have also supported the Bay Link project, providing a public transit connection from Downtown to Miami Beach.
  • Advocated and supported the construction of the Port Tunnel, which has improved access to and from the Port. It is now alleviating traffic by removing approximately 14,000 vehicles from Downtown roadways every day.

(3) Economic Growth/Job Creation:

  • Established the Employ Miami-Dade program, which focuses on training, providing our residents the necessary skills to enter the workforce, as well as connecting residents from neighborhoods with high unemployment rates with potential employers, and ensuring they are considered first for local jobs.
  • Continue to work with the One Community One Goal initiative aimed at generating new higher-paying jobs in targeted industries, like technology, for Miami-Dade.
  • While the Liberty City Rising project is part of our affordable housing initiatives, it will also provide job opportunities for the community and residents of the area. The revitalization is expected to create approximately 2,290 jobs.
  • I have also championed economic development projects, like the American Dream Miami, which will be the Country's largest mall and entertainment center with the potential to attract millions of visitors from around the world to the county each year, and create thousands of jobs.
  • But the future of our county’s economic dynamism needs to be tied to other sectors as well, including technology. This is the reason why I have been a strong advocate of eMerge Americas and Venture Hive, an entrepreneurial incubator.                            

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez
4061 S. LeJeune Road, Miami, FL 33146
(Work) 305-375-5071
(Home) 305-928-2020


Raquel Regalado

I am running for Mayor of Miami-Dade County in order to provide leadership to an organization with over 26,000 employees and an annual budget of over $7 Billion.  As the second largest employer, county government should be a greater force of good in our community. The waste in human capital under the current administration is intolerable.
As the Mayor of Miami-Dade County, I will set goals for innovative public sector workers to achieve. I will delegate management responsibility to carefully selected department administrators chosen through an open and competitive process. My years as an elected official with the Miami-Dade Public Schools have forged my convictions regarding merit selection. In my administration, academic performance, professional experience and subject matter expertise will matter. I am prepared to entrust competent, first-rate directors to manage their operations.  If the service expectations of the public are being met, and my trust is not breached, progress will be made. I am confident that the public sector workers will deliver, if given the respect and latitude they deserve.
My many years of hosting public affairs radio and television programs has given me an insight into the problems of this community that is truly unique. As a member in good standing with the Florida Bar, I also hold myself as an officer of the court and am committed to upholding the cherished values and principles of our American society. My ability to listen, distill the essence of problems, and craft policy solutions will be a tremendous asset as the leader of county government.      
What do you see as the most important issues facing this office, and how would you deal with them if elected?
The most important issue facing the Office of the Mayor is the need for structural reform of procurement to cleanse the office of the stench of corruption. I intend to modify the Code of the County to delegate the authority to recommend contract awards to the appointed Department Directors. I want to eliminate the national perception that Miami-Dade County is a "pay to play" contracting arena that requires substantial campaign contributions and the engagement of multiple lobbyists. To counter the perception, I will introduce policy that will reward firms for civic engagement, as evidenced by charitable giving to reputable community based organizations and service on the boards of non-governmental agencies.  If lobbyists want to meet with me, I will schedule meetings in the lobby of the Stephen P. Clark Government Center. It will be a new day for procurement under my administration.
As we restore trust and confidence to the operations of government with talented department directors and the diminished role of lobbyists and campaign contributions, we will begin to address the major problems confronting Miami-Dade County: traffic congestion, gun violence, small business development, and climate change adaptation. 
Traffic congestion solutions will involve engaging officials from Broward and Monroe Counties in order to expand the reach of proposed lines across county borders. A regional approach for the major lines will make our applications for federal funding more attractive. By increasing ridership numbers from beyond our borders, we will reach levels that our region will be able to compete with other metropolitan areas. On the mass transit front, I will also dedicate substantial resources in the maintenance of our buses. More mechanics are needed to ensure a more reliable fleet and better on-time performance. I will not settle for 70% on-time performance.
A concept I find interesting is the notion of vehicle-optional-zones, providing for all of the needs of the average person within a radius that is walkable or accessible via trolleys, bus and rail. The areas of greatest density will be required to meet certain mobility criteria in order to be officially designated a vehicle-optional-zone. I intend to work with our municipalities and civic leaders to make this happen. 
Gun violence is an acute problem within specific neighborhoods of our community.  More resources need to be pooled by county government, the school system, municipalities and the Children's Trust to ensure a "community bank" for local community based programs to experiment with innovative strategies to reach the most difficult cases of at-risk youth. We need to make a long-term commitment to break the cycle of gun violence that is defining the current generation of youth In our urban community.  Only if we have dedicated resources and a longitudinal approach will we succeed. I am committed to securing the resources for a sustained effort.
I have announced my intentions to disband the Beacon Council and focus attention on growing existing small businesses as a more appropriate investment of Local Business Tax proceeds. Working through organizations like the FIU Small Business Development Center I believe we can create more stable workplaces and provide for greater economic security of our workforce.
The time for addressing the concerns of climate change and sea level rise is yesterday. I will work with engineering experts to design a concrete plan to improve drainage operations in our most vulnerable areas. The South Florida Water Management District needs to be our partner in this effort. If direction from the Florida Legislature is needed to ensure the SFWMD addresses its unfunded capital program, then I will take up that issue in Tallahassee. We need to demonstrate to the insurance and mortgage industry that we are taking these matters seriously. Our goal should be to have effective, adaptive measures in place to address all the expected challenges on a thirty-year horizon, the current life of an average home mortgage.


A County Commissioner is selected by district to a 13-member Board of County Commissioners The Commissioners meet in committees and as a full body that sets policy, passes legislation and votes on the budget. Commissioner has a 4-year term; term limits – 2 consecutive terms. Non-partisan, single –district elections.

All candidates were asked the following questions:

  • Why are you running for this office and what qualities, training, experience and skills do you bring to this position?
  • What do you see as the most important issues facing this office, and how would you deal with them if elected?

There are no County Commissioners in run-off elections


The following amendments are proposed to the Miami-Dade County Charter. Provided is a synopsis or each question, as well as the results of a YES or NO vote.The majority of voters decides.

No. 1: Amend the County Charter with regard to special purpose districts, known as Special Taxing Districts.

Synopsis:  The Miami-Dade County Home Rule Charter, Section 1.01 (A) (11), provides that the Board of County Commissioners (Board) shall be the governing board of special taxing districts.  Special taxing districts are created in the Miami-Dade County Code of Ordinances, Chapter 18, to provide services for street lighting, security services, maintenance and other services that provide a special benefit to properties located within the district. This would amend the County Charter, allow the Board to authorize municipal governing bodies to serve as the governing boards of special taxing districts entirely within the respective municipal limits.

A YES vote would:

  • Allow for municipalities, the city council, to establish the annual rates to be assessed with the special taxing district for that municipality.
  • Allow decision making process to be more localized so that tax paying citizens within that municipality for the taxing district would have a more direct say.  
  • Create a new responsibility and cost for the city council to manage and operate the special taxing district
  • Municipalities would not be required to follow County contracting rules, including that contractors must pay workers a living wage.

A NO vote would:

  • The process for operating special taxing districts would remain the same, changes to the annual rates to be assessed for the specific municipality and special taxing district would be made by the Board of County Commissioners .  
  • Miami-Dade County would continue to be responsible for the management and operation of the special taxing district for the respective municipalities, and all related costs would be the responsibility of Miami-Dade County
  • All contractors and vendors hired by the County must comply with County contracting rules, including that they pay their workers a living wage.

No.2: Amend the County Charter with regard to amending the Citizens’ Bill of Rights with regard to Public Records.


Synopsis:  Presently, the Citizens’ Bill of Rights allows for inspection of public records.  This change to the County Charter would also allow copying public records, consistent with requirements to copy public records under Florida public records laws (Florida Statutes 119). The Citizens’ Bill of Rights in the Miami-Dade County Home Rule Charter provides the public with full and accurate information, to promote efficient administrative management, to make government more accountable, and to insure to all persons fair and equitable treatment, all audits, reports, minutes, documents, and other public records of the County and municipalities and their board, agencies, departments and authorities shall be open for inspection.  This would now include that public records may be open for inspection AND also copying consistent with the requirements of the State of Florida’s public records laws, at reasonable times and places convenient to the public.  

A vote YES means:  

  • The County Charter would be consistent with State of Florida public records law that allows citizens with the right to both inspect and copy public records.
  • This will provide private citizens with the ability to enforce public records laws through the Commission on Ethics and the Public Trust, which is less costly and more accessible than via private action, litigation.


A vote NO means:

  • Citizens who may want to copy any public record may do so through a private action (litigation) or a complaint made to the Commission on Ethics and Public Trust, making securing these records costly for the average citizen
  • County Charter is not consistent with same access to public records under Florida law.



The Miami-Dade School Board, the policy board for Miami-Dade public schools K-12, has nine members elected from individual districts to 4-year terms. In non-partisan election. The School Board appoints the Superintendent who in turn appoints administrators who together carry out the policy of the School Board.

All candidates were asked the following questions:

  • Why are you running for this office and what qualities, training, experience and skills do you bring to this position?
  • What do you see as the most important issues facing this office, and how would you deal with them if elected?

The below races are run-off elections between the top two candidates since no candidate achieved 50% of the vote during the Primary Election on August 30.


Steve Gallon III

I am running for the office of School Board member for District 1 to support and advocate for the improvement of teaching and learning, and to enhance the overall quality and conditions of public education in our schools and school district as a whole.

The ultimate mission of the School Board is the learning of students. This mission requires that there be a commitment to supporting those who are on the front lines of this work and ensuring that the conditions, compensation, and collaboration support this work.

As a life-long public school educator of over 26 years, and having served as a classroom teacher, assistant principal, elementary and high school principal, and district administrator in Miami-Dade County, as well as a Superintendent of Schools, my experience and background are uniquely superior to those of the other candidates. My knowledge, background, experience, and proven advocacy in areas that include but are not limited to curriculum, instruction, data, budget, finance, personnel, collective bargaining, legislation, and school operations and safety will enable me to help craft and support policy to improve our school district. In addition, they will all enable me to serve as an experienced voice for teachers and staff working in schools and throughout the district.


As a candidate for District 1 School Board member, my focus and candidacy the most issues facing the school system are improving the education of our students, supporting for increased compensation and improved working conditions for teachers and staff, supporting excellence and providing the resources that support its attainment, and ensuring the manifestation of equity and equality in every school and every corner of the public school system.

Wilbert T. ‘Tee’ Holloway

  • Candidate did not respond


Modesto ‘Mo’ Abety

My life’s work has been to ensure our children have the resources to succeed. As the former President & CEO of The Children’s Trust, I have worked hard to earn the trust of parents, advocates and community leaders for my dedication to the well­being, safety, health and education of our children. I am a strong believer in building parental and community responsibility for our children. I am ready to take my four decades of experience both on The Children’s Trust and in public service to the School Board so our children have an advocate fighting for them, for their parents, for their teachers and together for a high quality public education. 

I am pleased to have gained the support from those who share my vision for offering the best resources for our children to succeed. They include organized labor such as the United Teachers of Dade , and the South Florida AFL CIO, as well as leaders in our community, David and Roberta Lawrence, and County Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava. I have also earned the support of the community itself­­ parents, teachers, and social workers, families and child advocates. 

What do you see as the most important issues facing this office, and how would you deal with them if elected? 

Over testing: I will be a voice for parents and children who want our schools to put student learning ahead of teaching to a test. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the school board to urge Tallahassee to reform the onerous testing requirements that only serve to line the pockets of testing companies while failing to advance true student learning in our school system. I’m committed to giving teachers the tools they need to do what they do best: teach! 

Lack of Funding: I will work with students, teachers and parents alike to ensure that Miami­-Dade’s accountability system works for all our children and for all taxpayers. Our Miami­-Dade Delegation to the Florida Legislature also needs to be held accountable for ensuring that we get our fair share of the State’s education dollars. As a grandfather, I know that giving our children the best education system means a brighter future for them and our community. 

Strong Teachers: I firmly believe that quality education is dependent on a strong teacher. I will be an advocate for providing our teachers with suitable pay benefits, and a caring, nurturing, respectful environment so that we can recruit and retain the best talent in Miami Dade County. 


Marie Teresa ‘Mari Tere’ Rojas

First and foremost, education has always been my passion! I have devoted my entire life to educating and advocating for our children, our most precious resource. I want to bring that passion and my 40 years of experience, knowledge, integrity, and leadership, to the School Board. I see many opportunities that I can build upon using my experience as an educator and administrator within Miami-Dade County Public Schools. I want to continue to improve the quality of programs and services for students, increase student achievement, ensure class size is maintained, and properly compensate teachers in order to attract and maintain. Also, in the area of human resources, the ability to develop board policies and procedures geared to the provision of a safe and equitable learning environment for all stakeholders.

I started my professional career with Miami-Dade County Public Schools in 1975 as a classroom teacher at H.M. Flagler Elementary School. During my tenure, I served our district in numerous high-level administrative positions such as Principal, Assistant Principal, Region Director, Assistant Superintendent of the Office of Professional Standards, and as Administrative Assistant to a School Board Member.  
What do you see as the most important issues facing this office, and how would you deal with them if elected?
Two of the most important issues facing this office are ensuring the safety of all stakeholders as well as funding, to secure the adequate monetary resources to warrant successful performance of all stakeholders. I believe we can solve both issues by serving as an advocate for children, and working with state legislature to secure more funding for projects.

Another critical issue is the quality of programs and services for our students. I would work to increase student achievement through enhanced academic programs.

Another important issue is the recruitment and retention of highly-qualified teachers. A plan of action to retain teachers could be to ensure a mentoring system that provides support to the teachers always, but especially during the first year. To have a “think out of the box” approach by suggesting co-teaching with an experienced teacher. It is important to provide incentives and simply highlight the positives on a daily basis. 

Keeping up with technological advancements and professional development to enhance student progress and the efficiency of all employees are also important issues that must be addressed.  If elected, I would strive to maximize the technology available to meet the needs of the 21st Century while working collaboratively with higher education institutions.

I will also develop board policies and procedures geared to the provision of a safe and equitable learning environment for all stakeholders using my experience, leadership, knowledge, integrity and most importantly, passion as an educator administrator.