UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVES
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?
U.S. HOUSE DISTRICT 23
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.
AFFORDABLE HEALTHCARE ACT
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.
U.S. HOUSE DISTRICT 25
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.
AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE ACT
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
U.S. HOUSE DISTRICT 26
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.
AFFORDABLE HEALTHCARE ACT
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
U.S. HOUSE DISTRICT 27
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.
AFFORDABLE HEALTHCARE ACT
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