FL-21: Raul Martinez Announces Run for Congress
by Progressive America, Mon Jan 21, 2008 at 06:56:20 PM EST
Raul Martinez, the former mayor of Hialeah, who is largely credited with greening and turning around the city in his time of service, has announced a run for the 21st Congressional district against Republican incumbent Lincoln Diaz-Balart. He will make the announcement tomorrow in the PVI R+6.2 district, which has been trending more blue and increasingly independent over the past few years. Because of Martinez's popularity in the region, including the fact that he's never lost an election in very Republican areas, the election will be a fierce battle to watch. This is also likely to increase rumors that candidates will step up to take on Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart in the 18th and 25th districts, respectively, which are more Democratic in nature.
From the Miami Herald:
Martinez said he's a Cuban-American Democrat -- a minority in Miami-Dade -- because he's part of the centrist wing of the party. ``I was a Democrat because I believed in housing. ... I believed in helping the disadvantaged. ... Yes, you have to have a strong defense. Yes, you have to have a strong immigration policy, all of that. But you gotta be more humanistic.''
Up for grabs in the sprawling district are a growing number of independent-minded voters unaffiliated with either the Republican or Democratic parties.
Díaz-Balart has told The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald that Martinez's return is part of a ploy by Fidel Castro sympathizers to lift or weaken the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba. Martinez insists he is not interested in changing the four-decades' old embargo against Cuba, though he wants to ease the restrictions the Bush administration set on family travel to Cuba and on remittances.
Those last remarks are a continuation of comments made last week by Lincoln when he declared this was an effort or a conspiracy "to unseat him" from his rightful congressional district. Mr. Diaz-Balart, they're actually called elections and we have them normally, voters get to decide who they want to represent them, not the lobbyists and insiders in Washington and the Republican Party. And in 2008, we're going to have an election in the 21st Congressional district and voters will decide if they want us out of Iraq, health care for our citizens, investment in science, and all the other issues Diaz-Balart has opposed.
You can get another sense of who we're facing from this clip in Congress presented by Jon Stewart on the dailyshow. Here's our competition for the seat, Lincoln himself:
"Because of Iraq, the entire world is safer...the entire world is safer...the entire world is safer...
The entire world is safer or is it that when we're talking about Iraq, that Iraq is not on planet earth."
Here is what our candidate, Raul Martinez is saying:
Martinez spoke of affordable housing programs, an improved Hialeah downtown, better streets and other public works.
''I would focus on public works programs, providing more money for water quality and water abundance in our community, housing, health insurance -- to work with both Democrats and Republicans to bring about a health insurance program that everybody would have access to,'' Martinez said.
''I want to be progressive,'' he said.
Because of the Republican lean of the district and the incumbency factor, this will be no cake walk, but with the right kind of campaign we should have a good shot at taking this district, as well as the two other South Florida Congressional districts that will be challenged.
Be sure to join in on the efforts to Draft Joe Garcia for the 25th Congressional race, as well. There's a petition you can sign and also we would like to keep raising money to get him in the race, already 18 contributions and $180 raised without even a candidate!
You can chip in $5 to get Joe in the 25th congressional race at Act Blue.