KEY BISCAYNE – Mike Davey, the Republican candidate for the Florida state House seat being vacated by Rep. José Javier Rodríguez (D-Miami), said today he is cautiously optimistic going into tomorrow's primary election.
"We have worked hard to build name recognition and let the voters know who I am and what I intend to do to represent them in Tallahassee," Davey said during a Florida Record email interview. "The key is going to be getting folks to turn out to vote. Tomorrow looks like a rainy Tuesday, so we have to keep up the efforts to get people mobilized. We have a great group of people working the phones and the emails to get people out. We will find out how we have done on Tuesday night."
Davey, an attorney, is a former councilmember and vice mayor of Key Biscayne. His opponent for the District 112 seat is 47-year-old community advocate, businesswoman and teacher Rosa Palomino.
The Miami Herald praised both candidates for having solid legislative priorities. Palomino, the newspaper said, is concerned about Miami-Dade County's status as a donor community, which sends out more money to the state than it receives in return.
"Tackling the challenges of sea-level rise, human trafficking and education are also on her to-do list," the Miami Herald said, explaining the thoughts behind who it would endorse. "She supports school choice; and would not want to push through knee-jerk gun restrictions in light of the Pulse massacre in Orlando, believing that, 'The tragedy would have been more limited if security or patrons had been armed themselves'," the newspaper said.
For the Miami Herald, Davey won out over Palomino for its endorsement earlier this month.
"We give Mr. Davey the edge here for his support of expanding Medicaid, something that members of his party, including Gov. Rick Scott have misguidedly refused to do, despite the fact the almost 1 million more people would receive healthcare, courtesy of the federal government," the Miami Herald said in its endorsement of Davey.
"I am running on issues that are important not only to District 112, but to all of Miami-Dade and the state of Florida," Davey told the Florida Record. "Improving and modernizing our infrastructure is critical to the continued success of Miami and Florida. We have to find ways for the state to invest in these programs. In Miami, this includes assisting with the expansion of mass transit, fixing our roadways, and working with the county to expedite the updating of the water and sewer systems. They're not sexy issues, but they need help."
Davey said he also is concerned by recent developments concerning water quality and the Everglades.
"The legislature must take decisive action to move forward with the purchase of lands to the south of Lake Okeechobee," he said. "The voters made it clear that they wanted this done in 2014. We have to make it happen."
On the subject of education, Davey said Florida cannot afford to lag behind the rest of the country in terms of the amount of resources dedicated.
The attorney said, "$7,100 per pupil is just not acceptable. We spend $51,000 per juvenile detainee. I would like see funding shifted to education in an effort to reduce the number of juvenile detainees and reduce those expenditures."
Davey said he also wants to see what he can do to add to the discussion about job growth.
"I believe that improving our infrastructure and improving our public education opportunities, in conjunction with certain well-defined incentive programs, can help us to grow our economy," he said.
He added that there's much to be done in Florida.
"I believe that we have real opportunities to make Florida an example to the rest of the country," he said. "Having met some of the people who are currently representing us, I am confident that we can work together for a successful future for Florida."
The District 112 seat sought by Davey and Palomino currently is held by Rodríguez, who is running for state Senate.
The Democrat Party also will have its primary election tomorrow. The two candidates seeking that party's nomination for the District 112 seat are Nick Duran and Waldo Faura-Morales. Duran has been endorsed by the Miami Herald.