Democratic Primaries in southeast Florida are often times personal popularity contests. Time and again, local Democrats who are almost universally liberal, cast votes based on a personal connection or who they saw more during a campaign than on actual issues or job performance. All too often southeast Florida Democratic primaries that become popularity contests yield legislators who are less committed to progressive causes than their constituents would have hoped.
The open State House District 98 features a straight two-way Democratic primary, with the winner almost certain of victory come November. Katie Edwards, an experienced Tallahassee insider who worked for many years with the Florida Farm Bureau, was the early frontrunner. Edwards, who was the 2010 Democratic nominee in the West Kendall based 119th district, is now running in Central Broward County where she grew up. Edwards, a personal recruit of House Minority Leader Ron Saunders, echoes some of the same themes as Saunders: She knows her way around Tallahassee, can work with Republicans and is a social moderate.
Edwards is probably well qualified to be a legislator. In the current era of Democratic defeatism she may even be hailed as a rock star in a party dying on the vine. But Edwards fits the profile of recent Democrats who have been elected to the Legislature, and have continued to make the differences between the two parties murky at best in Florida, despite the obvious differences nationally.
Fortunately District 98 Democrats have a better choice. Louis Reinstein is a fresh young face on the scene in Broward County. Reinstein has taken strong progressive stands on a number of important issues. He strongly supports protecting Florida’s environment in order to stimulate our economy, a view all progressive Florida Democrats should hold. Reinstein believes Florida must be the leader in creating the jobs of the future which includes a new focus on biotechnology and alternative energy. He is also a strong supporter of Florida’s Public Schools and opposes the continued right wing efforts to force school vouchers on the educators of the state. He is also a supporter of passing the ERA which is thirty five years overdue in Florida and a more open, equitable justice system.
Reinstein sums up his views with this quote: “I do believe that our society is judged by how we treat our oldest and our youngest and this State under this Governor and this Republican Legislature is failing miserably. I believe that as a progressive Democrat we must speak loudly and clearly and let this Governor know that we want and demand better. We demand better for our seniors and better for our children. We demand better for our whole State.”
Reinstein has shown leadership on progressive causes when compared to his opponent attending local rallies and activist gathering when his opponent has been absent. Louis Reinstein is precisely the type of young, thoughtful Democrat that southeast Florida progressives should embrace. In the Democratic Primary for House District 98, the Political Hurricane strongly endorses Louis Reinstein.