National Weekly's endorsements and recommendations - General Election, 2012
Early voting begins for the November 6 General Election on Saturday, October 27. This is one of the nation's most important elections and an appeal is made to every registered voter to take advantage of the privilege to vote. Too many issues are at stake, more importantly the quality of the life that Americans will be able to enjoy in the future, for registered voters not to participate in the process to elected men and women that can offer the best quality of life.
To assist voters in their choice the National Weekly over the past several months has closely observed the candidates, listened to their speeches, read their position on various issues and have drawn the conclusion of who should best be elected to represent various offices in these elections. Accordingly, our endorsements follow
Broward, Miami- Dade, Palm Beach County Ballots
PRESIDENT/VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Barack Obama/Joe Biden - Democrat
Barack Obama and Joe Biden assumed the presidency of the U.S. in 2009 in one of the most difficult economic periods of any American president, with the possible exception of Franklyn D. Roosevelt. The unemployment rate was over 9 percent, traditionally stable financial institutions had collapsed or were on the verge of collapsing; the automobile industry and housing industries were also on the verge of collapse. Americans were losing one of their most prized possessions, their homes and some 50 million Americans could barely afford professional healthcare.
Today, after scant cooperation from Republicans in Congress, the unemployment rate has fallen to 7.8 percent, not perfect but a significant improvement; the automobile industry is on firm footing, the banking industry has been stabilized and the housing market is settling down. Recently, a senior banker said the housing market has turned the corner. Through the initiative of the Obama administration, more people were able to save their homes from foreclosure and meet their mortgage payments. In addition, more people, including kids under 26, seniors over 65, and people with pre-existing conditions have access to affordable healthcare through Obama's healthcare law. Students have more access to financial assistance to pursue a college education, more Americans are being protected from the excesses of financial institutions and the stock market has been enjoying steady buoyancy.
Moreover, Obama kept his promise of ending the unnecessary war in Iraq and began pulling troops out of the war in Afghanistan, eliminated Osama Bin Laden and weakened the world foremost terrorist organization, al Qaeda.
Obama/Biden accomplished much in one of the most difficult and divisive environments in modern history. The situation today is not satisfactory, there is much work to be done, but the results are evident, and Obama/Biden should be reelected to continue to move America forward.
UNITED STATES SENATOR
Bill Nelson – Democrat
Senator Nelson has ably represented the state of Florida in the U.S. Senate since 2001. He has been a voice of reason in a growing divisive chamber and has been firmly supportive of legislation like the healthcare law. He has earned reelection.
REPRESENTATIVES IN THE U.S. CONGRESS
District 18 – Palm Beach County Ballot
Patrick Murphy – Democrat
Murphy is in a tough race with the extremely divisive incumbent Congressman Allan West who was redistricted from District 22. More than ever the U.S. needs representatives ready to reach across the aisle to work for the benefit of Americans. Murphy should do better at this than West.
District 20 – Broward/Palm Beach County Ballots
Alcee Hastings – Democrat
Hastings has been a strong advocate for South Florida for over 20 years in the U.S. House of Representatives. He has firmly stood for cuts in the US military, and increased budgets for social programs like Medicare and Medicaid, and is a co-sponsor of American Jobs Act.
District 21 – Broward/Palm Beach County Ballots
Ted Deutch – Democrat
Incumbent Deutch is seeking reelection in this new district and continues his term in the U.S. House since his election in 2010. In his relatively short tenure he has shown a clear bi-partisan approach to getting legislation passed.
District 22 – Broward/Palm Beach County Ballots
Lois Frankel – Democrat
Frankel, the former mayor of West Palm Beach is strong on economic development and job creation, something greatly needed in the U.S. House. She wants to strengthen Medicare.
District 23 – Broward/Miami Dade County Ballots
Debbie Wasserman Schultz- Democrat
Wasserman has proved a source of pride for South Florida in the U.S. House. She has risen to head the Democratic National Committee. She fights tirelessly for women issues and social issues including child protection. She deserves to be reelected.
Congress: District 25 – Miami Dade County Ballot
Mario Diaz-Balart – Republican
Diaz-Balart seeks reelection for his second term, without a Democrat opponent in a newly designed district. He is beloved by Cuban-Americans and although he is a committed conservative, he serves with the full interest of his district, state and country.
Congress: District 26 – Miami Dade County Ballot
Joe Garcia – Democrat
Joe Garcia is making his second attempt to defeat David Rivera who defeated him in District 25 in 2010. This is Garcia's third attempt and he should be elected over Rivera who always seem be in the middle of controversy. Garcia should bring more focus in representing this district.
Congress: District 27 – Miami Dade County Ballot
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen – Republican
Ros-Lehtinen has been a champion for the cause of her district and South Floridians in general since first elected to the U.S. House in 1989. Her Democratic opponent Manny Yevancey faces a daunting task in unseating her.
Miami Dade County Ballot
Kathleen Rundle – Democrat
Broward County Ballot
Mike Satz – Democrat
Palm Beach County Ballot
Dave Aronberg – Democrat
DISTRICT 25 – Palm Beach County Ballot
Joseph "Joe" Abruzzo – Democrat
Abruzzo, a moderate Democrat, should be reelected to the senate to continue his bi-partisan approach for the improvement of the welfare of women, students and homeowners.
DISTRICT 27 – Palm Beach County Ballot
Jeff Clemens – Democrat
DISTRICT 29 – Broward County Ballot
Jeremy Ring – Democrat
Ring is a successful businessman who brings a keen awareness of financial solutions for state projects often caught in a financial bind.
DISTRICT 31- Broward County Ballot
Christopher "Chris" Smith – Democrat
Voters must be careful not to be confused by the similar names of the candidates, as the Republican candidate's name is Christopher "Chris" Smithmyer. Chris Smith is an incumbent senator in a new district and has a track record of serving the state positively.
DISTRICT 32 – Palm Beach County Ballot
Joe Negron - Republican
Because Negron's Democratic opponent Roy D'Amiano has conducted a less than stellar campaign, offering little information on the issues, Negron a former Florida House representative and senator should be elected to represent the district and Florida.
DISTRICT 33 – Broward County Ballot
Senator Eleanor Sobel – Democrat
Senator Sobel who is former Hollywood vice-mayor has served this district well since 2008 and is trusted to push for reforms on the issues that affects the district and the state, especially the issue of implementing federal healthcare.
DISTRICT 34 – Broward/Palm Beach County Ballots
Maria Sachs – Democrat
Sachs is vying to return to the Florida Senate in a strong Democratic area, but has shown the knack to effectively work a bi-partisan approach. She should better serve the district and the state than her opponent Republican Ellyn Bogdanoff.
DISTRICT 35 – Miami-Dade County Ballot
Gwen Margolis – Democrat
Margolis should be able to turn her 40 years of experience into a great asset in the Florida Senate.
DISTRICT 39 – Miami Dade County Ballot
Dwight Bullard – Democrat
Bullard is tipped to continue the work of his parents in the Senate, having proven his worth in the Florida House. He is an advocate for improvement in education and the middle class.
Broward County Ballot
Mark Satz – Democrat
Experience is strongly in favor of Satz who has held the position, and has been effective for over 36 years.
Miami Dade County Ballot
Katherine Fernandez Rundle – Democrat
The incumbent Rundle faces a write-in candidate making her reelection certain.
Palm Beach County Ballot
Dave Aronberg – Democrat
Despite attempts to railroad Aronberg's election with a organized smear campaign his election is endorsed.
STATE HOUSE REPRESENTATIVE
DISTRICT 81 –Palm Beach County Ballot
Kevin Rader – Democrat
Rader is needed to boost the representation of Democrats in the House. He is a strong proponent for working families and public education.
DISTRICT 85 – Palm Beach County Ballot
David Lutrin – Democrat
Although redistricting has favored Republican House incumbent Pat Rooney, the edge is given to Lutrin, a teacher who wants to contribute to reform Florida's educational system.
DISTRICT 86 – Palm Beach County Ballot
Mark Pafford – Democrat
Pafford seeks reelection to the House in this new district. He is a stern advocate for the state to expanding funding of Medicaid as required under the federal healthcare act.
DISTRICT 89 – Palm Beach County Ballot
Tom Gustafon – Democrat
Gustafon, a former House speaker is on a mission to improve the state's ailing economy.
DISTRICT 90 - Palm Beach County Ballot
Lori Berman – Democrat
Berman's experience and bold approach in the House warrants her reelection. She is qualified and has shown no fear in pushing legislation as a member of the House minority party.
DISTRICT 93 – Broward County Ballot
Geri Ann Capotosto – Democrat
Capotosto is a newcomer challenging incumbent Republican George Moraitis. She is keen not only on improving the region's job rate, but creating higher paying jobs.
DISTRICT 94 – Broward County Ballot
Perry Thurston, Jr. – Democrat
Thurston is one of the few African American voices in the Florida House. The respected representative is focused on the district and state's economic development and general improvement in education.
DISTRICT 97 – Broward County Ballot
Jared Moskowitz – Democrat
This young Parkland commissioner is primed for the Florida House. His realistic goal is to attract more businesses to the state as a platform for job growth.
DISTRICT 98 – Broward County Ballot
Katie Edwards – Democrat
Edwards is a very impressive young politician whose youth and energy will be refreshing in the Florida House. Her stance on improving property insurance for Floridians is well needed, as the state needs to generate a competitive environment to attract more credible private insurers.
DISTRICT 99 – Broward County Ballot
Elaine Schwartz – Democrat
Schwartz has been a committed representative since 2006 and has proven to be one of the strongest advocates for benefits for seniors, including improvement in nursing home care and the operation of assisted living facilities.
DISTRICT 102* - Broward/Miami Dade County Ballots
Sharon Pitchett - Democrat
DISTRICT 103* - Broward/Miami Dade County Ballots
Manny Diaz Jr, - Republican
DISTRICT 104 – Broward County Ballot
Richard "Rich" Stark – Democrat
This is a race between two newcomers, Stark and Republican Doug Harrison. Stark, a former insurance executive is passionate about representing Florida.
DISTRICT 105* - Broward/Miami Dade County Ballots
dCarlos Trujillo – Republican
DISTRICT 107* - Miami Dade County Ballot
Barbara Watson - Democrat
DISTRICT 110* - Miami Dade County Ballot
Jose Oliva – Republican
DISTRICT 111* - Miami Dade County Ballot
Eddy Gonzalez – Republican
DISTRICT 112 – Miami Dade County Ballot
Jose Javier Rodriquez - DemocratRepublican Alex De la Portilla has been representing this district for years, first as a member of the House and more recently in the Florida Senate. Trying to return to the House he faces a worthwhile challenge from a relative newcomer Democrat Jose Javier Rodriquez. While Rodriquez may have a steep uphill task he gets the nod in this Miami district.
DISTRICT 114 – Miami Dade County Ballot
Ross Hancock – Democrat
Hancock is seeking to unseat Republican Erik Frensen, who is perceived to have some ethical issues.
DISTRICT 115 – Miami Dade County Ballot
Jeffery Solomon – Democrat
Solomon is making his second bid to represent the district. He has sound ideas for developing the state's schools and is a strong proponent for the federal healthcare law.
DISTRICT 116* - Miami Dade County Ballot
Jose Felix Diaz – Republican
DISTRICT 117* - Miami-Dade County Ballot
Kionne L. McGhee – Democrat
DISTRICT 118* - Miami Dade County Ballot
Frank Artiles – Republican
DISTRICT 119* - Miami Dade County Ballot
Jeanette M. Nunez – Republican
DISTRICT 120 – Miami Dade County Ballot
Ian Whitney – Democrat
* These candidates are opposed by "write-on" candidates, making their election almost certain by de-fault.
JUSTICE OF THE FLORIDA SUPREME COURT (All County Ballots)
The retention of the justices in the Supreme Court is endorsed to provide judicial balance in the highest court in the state. Moreover, each of the three justices have performed with high merit while serving on the bench for years. There is absolutely no reason to remove either of them.
Shall Justice R. Fred Lewis be retained in Office
Shall Justice Barbara J. Pariente be retained in Office
Shall Justice Peggy A. Quince be retained in Office
BROWARD COUNTY Ballot
Clerk of the Court
Howard G. Foreman - Democrat
Al Lamberti – Republican
Lamberti has served as an outstanding leader of Broward's Sheriff Department. He has motivated the department, built morale and has led a reduction of crime in the county.
Broward County Commission
District 3 - Stacy Ritter – Democrat
District 7 - Timothy M. "Tim" Ryan – Democrat
District 9 – Dale V.C. Holness – Democrat
Fourth District Court of Appeal – Broward and Palm Beach Ballots
Both judges have served with distinction on the Court of Appeal bench. That they should be retained is unquestionable.
Shall Judge Burton C. Conner be retained?
Shall Judge Carole Y. Taylor be retained?
CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE, 17TH JUDICIAL COURT
Group 45 – Julio E. Gonzalez, Jr.
He has experience and served as an outstanding judge during his past tenure.
COUNTY COURT JUDGE
Group 5 – Olga Levine
Levine will bring years of experience in various courts; drug, mental health juvenile and civil court to the county court. She cares deeply about justice and fairness for people of all races and worked very hard to keep children out of prison
Group 10 – Rashawn Banks
The former African American public defender, has shown promise to serve on the county court. Her zeal and passion for justice, especially for the poor is much needed in the court. She would bring balance and diversity to the bench.
Broward School Board
District 4 – Abby Freedman
Her business experience should serve well on the school board, often facing financial challenges.
District 5 – Rosalind "Ros" Osgood
As a minister and someone who has experienced failing schools, Osgood will be able to bring common sense approach to the school board.
District 8 – Donna Korn
Korn shows interest in, and understanding of, the school board, the academic needs of students, and the participatory role of parents in their children's education.
District 9 – Barbara Houston Wilson
She is especially qualified to turn around poor performing schools. Exceptional retired educator.
MIAMI DADE COUNTY BALLOT
BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
District 3 - Audrey M. Edmonson
District 5 – Bruno A. Barreiro
District 11 – Juan C. Zapato
3rd District Court of Appeal
Retain Judge Angel A. Cortinas – Yes
Retain Judge Judge Kevin Emas – Yes
Retain Judge Ivan F. Fernandez – Yes
Retain Judge Leslie B. Rothenberg – Yes
Retain Judge Robert J. Suarez – Yes
CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE
Group 24 – Greer Elaine Wallace
Greer Wallace is a very experienced attorney. She has excelled in the appeals court, and is a proponent for the rights of juveniles.
Miami Dade School Board Question
Funding Modernization of Public Schools – Vote for Bonds
Miami Dade County Questions
Home Rule Charter Relating to Term Limits - Yes
Technical Amendments to Home Rule Charter - Yes
Miami Dade Charter Amendments
Requiring Extraordinary Vote - Yes
Pertaining to Changes in Municipal Boundaries - No
Regarding Penalties - Yes
Related to Option for filling Mayoral - Yes
Mayoral Conflicts in County Procurement - Yes
Referendum Regarding Structures and Modification - Yes
PROPOSED CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS (Broward, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach County Ballots)
None of the amendments are favorable. They are written in lengthy, almost unintelligible language, aimed to confuse voters and many are really trick questions. Take for example Amendment 2- Homestead exemption for certain disabled veterans, Amendment 9 – Homestead exemption for surviving military spouses, and Amendment 11- Additional Homestead exemption for certain low-income seniors, all seem to provide help for disabled veterans, surviving military spouses and low income seniors, but if approved each would reduce revenue provided by the local governments, and thus preventing these local governments from providing a variety of social services geared towards the same demographics the amendment purports to help.
Moreover Approval of Amendment 6 – Prohibition on Public Funding of Abortion would prevent Florida from continuing to permit abortions based on privacy protections written in Florida's Constitution, and allow the state government to interfere in personal healthcare decisions between Florida's women and their doctors.
While Amendment 8 seem to herald "Religious Freedom" what approving the amendment would do is to permit school vouchers to go to schools run by religious institutions and therefore reduce the funding available for public schools.
1. Health Care Services - No
2. Homestead exemption for certain disabled veterans - No
3. State Government Revenue Limitation - No
4. Property Tax Limitation, Property Value Decline, Reduction for Non-Homestead Assessment Increases - No
5. State Courts - No
6. Prohibition on Public Funding of Abortions - No
8. "Religious Freedom" – Repeals Prohibition of Public Funding for Religious Institutions - No
9. Homestead Property Tax Exemption for Surviving Military Spouses - No
10. Tax Exemption for Tangible Personal Property - No
11. Additional Homestead Exemption for Certain Low-Income Seniors - No
12. Appointment of Student Body Representative to University Board of Governors – ' No