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THE FLORIDA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES


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.

HOUSE DISTRICT 103

 

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. 

GUN VIOLENCE

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.  

EDUCATION

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. 

ENVIRONMENT

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.

ivetteforflorida@gmail.com
305-358-8003 (w)
786-423-5977 (c)


HOUSE DISTRICT 105

 

Patricio Moreno (DEM)

  • Candidate did not respond

 

Carlos Trujillo (REP)

  • Candidate did not respond

HOUSE DISTRICT 110

 

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.

GUN VIOLENCE

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

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.

ENVIRONMENT

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.

305-691-5251
capuentes2016@gmail.com


HOUSE DISTRICT 111

 

Bryan Avila (REP)

  • Candidate did not respond

 

Sevi Miyar (DEM)

  • Candidate did not respond

HOUSE DISTRICT 112  


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).  

GUN VIOLENCE

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.

EDUCATION

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.

ENVIRONMENT

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.

786-373-6690
duranforflorida@gmail.com

 

Rosa Maria “Rosy” Palomino (REP)

  • Candidate did not respond

HOUSE DISTRICT 113


Jonathan Parker (REP)

  • Candidate did not respond



David Richardson (DEM)

  • Candidate did not respond

HOUSE DISTRICT 114
 

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.
 
PLATFORM

  • 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

COMMUNITY

  • 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

POLITICS

  • 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

AWARDS

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

MILITARY SERVICE

  • 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.

EDUCATION

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

PROFESSIONAL
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.
 
GUN VIOLENCE
 
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.

EDUCATION
 
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.
 
ENVIRONMENT
 
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.
 
Daisy@DaisyBaez.com   
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.
 
GUN VIOLENCE
 
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. 
 
EDUCATION
 
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.
 
 ENVIRONMENT
 
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.

305-494-8332
jdc@johncouriel.com


HOUSE DISTRICT  115

 

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.

GUN VIOLENCE

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. 

EDUCATION

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.

ENVIRONMENT

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
email:gypsydoc@bellsouth.net


HOUSE DISTRICT 116

 

Jose Felix Diaz  (REP)

  • Candidate did not respond

 

Heath Rassner (DEM)

  • Candidate did not respond


HOUSE DISTRICT 118

 

Robert Asencio (DEM)

  • Candidate did not respond

 

David Rivera (REP)

  • Candidate did not respond

HOUSE DISTRICT 119

 

Jeannette Nunez (REP)

  • Candidate did not respond

 

Jennifer Pinell (DEM)

  • Candidate did not respond

HOUSE DISTRICT 120

 

Dan Horton (DEM)

  • Candidate did not respond
     

Holly Raschein (REP)

  • Candidate did not respond