Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Wheels starting to turn in US House Districts 18 and 25

I think there were two developments on Tuesday in the coming races for the US House of Representatives from Miami-Dade County, involving Joe Garcia and Annette Taddeo, the Democratic candidates who waged strong campaigns in 2008 but lost in FL-25 and FL-18, respectively.

I’m guessing that Joe Garcia took himself out of the House race in 2010 by accepting a nomination for a job in the Obama administration, and Annette Taddeo declared, once again, that she’s mad at the incumbent Republican, and she squashed talk that she’d run for chief financial officer of Florida.

Taddeo’s stump speech in her brave battle to unseat Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in 2008 always included the story of her decision to run. It was because Ros-Lehtinen had voted repeatedly against expanding children’s health insurance coverage. Taddeo would bring tears to her listeners’ eyes by recalling her many surgeries to repair a cleft lip, and she would say this experience convinced her to challenge Ros-Lehtinen, who’s been in the US House now for 20 years.

Now the issue is the environment, Taddeo said in a statement ruling out a run to succeed Alex Sink as Florida’s CFO. She didn’t declare outright for Congress, but it sure sounds like the next thing in her sights.

Here’s most of what she said:

I have taken time to seriously examine this [CFO] opportunity and to confer with family, friends and supporters. I’ve had an opportunity to do some soul searching about my future and I’ve come to some clear realizations. I am most passionate about my family, my business and public service. I’ve dedicated my entire life to family, while dedicating my professional life to building and growing my company, LanguageSpeak. Through my service on a variety of public boards and groups and then my run for Congress, I have been able to follow my passion for public service.

The Chief Financial Officer position is very appealing to me. I believe my background as the owner and active CEO of a small business gives me the skills I would need to serve the people of Florida in this position. As I examined the opportunity, I felt confident I could raise the money to be competitive and that I could do the job well and with vision.

But something was missing.

Just over a week ago, the House of Representatives passed landmark legislation to attack climate change and to address our dependence on foreign oil and the deadly greenhouse gasses that fossil fuels spew into our environment. I followed that debate with rapt attention and realize the legislation isn’t perfect. However, in spite of the science, in spite of the clear and present danger climate change presents to the future of Florida, my own member of Congress voted against the bill.

I realized at that moment what was missing as I considered the CFO race. I just wasn’t passionate about it at this time. I am passionate about climate change and health care and restoring our economy. I am passionate about economic development and job creation and making sure America is on the forefront of innovation for the future. I feel we are being let down, once again, by political leaders who can’t see beyond the next election.

Therefore, I have decided not to be a candidate for CFO or any other office at this time. I hope and believe that I will run for public office again in the near future. I have decided to keep my focus on my family, my business and to engage in public policy from the perspective of a wife, mother, business owner and activist for now. Thank You.

A month ago, at the Jefferson-Jackson Day event in Miami Beach, she said she wouldn’t run for Congress again without the full backing of the Democratic Party, as she had to do in 2008. Well we remember the thrashing and gnashing that went on as we in the grassroots begged and yelled for our incumbent Democrats in the US House, Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-20) and Kendrick Meek (FL-17), to get behind the strong Democratic candidates challenging the three Republicans in our county’s US House delegation. It was like the poor Sisyphus pushing his boulder up the impossible mountain.

In the end, Taddeo lost 42 percent to 58 percent – the same margin that Democrat Raul Martinez lost to Lincoln Diaz-Balart in FL-21.

Joe Garcia did considerably better against Mario Diaz-Balart in FL-25, losing 47 percent to 53 percent.

Not long ago I heard Joe Garcia speak at a Democracy For America-Miami-Dade chapter meeting, and he clearly was leaving the door open to a new run for the US House. The demographics are getting more and more favorable for a Democrat in this district that includes Miami’s southwestern suburbs and through the Everglades to the eastern part of Collier County.

But now Garcia is taking an interesting chance in Washington, and I think this rules out a run for the US House. It’s already July of 2009, and within six months he’d had to have a campaign up for the November 2010 election. Somehow Joe Garcia doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who’d put the citizenry through the agony of confirmation hearings and then a few months later quit and run for some other position.

Yes, confirmation hearings – that’s what the Miami Herald says on the Naked Politics blog.
Click on that and you'll see that the White House said of Garcia:

"Joe Garcia's dynamic public service career spans over 20 years and consists of a diverse body of work in the fields of energy, foreign policy and human rights. As a law student, Mr. Garcia directed the Exodus Project, a non-profit refugee resettlement program that reunited over 10,000 families at no cost to American tax-payers. In 1992, the late Governor Lawton Chiles appointed Joe Garcia to the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC), where he fought for lower utility bills for the people of Florida. In 1998, Mr. Garcia's fellow commissioners elected him as chairman of the PSC. As PSC Chairman, Joe Garcia worked across party lines to pass the largest energy rate cut in Florida's history, saving Florida's families more than $1 billion. In 2001, Mr. Garcia was named as the Executive Director of the Cuban American National Foundation, where he served as a tireless proponent of freedom and improved human rights conditions in Cuba and throughout the Americas. In 2004, Mr. Garcia was named Executive Vice President and Director of the Hispanic Project for NDN, a policy research institute in Washington D.C. Joe Garcia earned his Bachelor of Arts and Juris Doctorate degrees from the University of Miami."

Oh, yeah. The job is director of the Office of Minority Economic Impact at the Department of Energy.

1 comment:

deva said...

i was really enjoying reading ur blog.. thanks
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