STATE REP CANDIDATES WEIGH IN ON AMENDMENT 3, MAINLAND MATTERS

A new representative will venture to Tallahassee and represent the Keys, work to bring home funding and seek change on issues that include wind insurance rates. 

State Rep. Holly Raschein is terming out after serving District 120 for the past eight years. The  two candidates seeking to replace her are Republican Jim Mooney and Democrat Clint Barras.

Mooney is an Islamorada native who announced his run in May 2019 for the seat that represents the island chain and a portion of south Miami-Dade. He’s a former school teacher, coach, small business owner and mayor. An Islamorada council member, Mooney elected to forgo one more term on the dais to pursue a new office to serve Keys constituents. Mooney beat out two other Republican candidates in Rhonda Rebman Lopez and Alexandria Suarez in the August primary to square off against Barras in the general election. 

Barras has lived in Key West with his family since 1998. He filed paperwork to run for office at the start of 2020. He’s the senior manager of Two Oceans Digital, a digital marketing agency that serves clients including the Monroe County Tourist Development Council. He served as a member of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council in 2009 with his most recent position as the chair. Barras was the sole candidate on the Democratic side to run for the seat. 

The Keys Weekly posed the following questions to the candidates to answer in 100 words of less (answers are as submitted):

1. On the November ballot, Amendment 3 would change Florida’s primary elections for state legislators, the governor and lieutenant governor, and elected cabinet members to an open primary, meaning voters will be able to pick the top two candidates across party lines instead of just voting Republican or Democrat. Do you support this amendment?

2. Your opponent and you are Keys residents, but more than half of the constituents in District 120 live on the mainland. What is the top priority for your mainland constituents?

JIM MOONEY
Republican
Age: 69
Current job: Realtor

1. “No” to Amendment 3: Our forefathers worked to ensure representation and they revolve around the two parties “R” and “D.” Those that choose to be an NPA or another party understand they are not in the primary loop. This is a choice they choose, much as I did way back as an independent. The amendment will in my opinion create a great divide rather than a more neutral arena. The general still provides for those that do not wish to affiliate with either party by having numerous options on who to vote for.

2. Water quality, quantity: Continue to work on urban sprawl and how it affects farmers and our food sources; work to provide educational opportunities for children who may not want to go to college (VO-TEC); work to support funding for programs that help parents, that must work and do not have the ability for after school care. Continue to support both mental and physical health programs, and enhance them. Work to enhance and support new business opportunities that do not exist today, which will broaden opportunities for families and individual business owners and grow the economy.


1. On the November ballot, Amendment 3 would change Florida’s primary elections for state legislators, the governor and lieutenant governor, and elected cabinet members to an open primary, meaning voters will be able to pick the top two candidates across party lines instead of just voting Republican or Democrat. Do you support this amendment?

2. Your opponent and you are Keys residents, but more than half of the constituents in District 120 live on the mainland. What is the top priority for your mainland constituents?

CLINT BARRAS
Democrat
Age: 50
Current job: vice president, Two Oceans Digital

1. I do not support Amendment 3 because, as it is written, it would disenfranchise minority communities or minority candidates within specific districts. The Florida League of Women Voters recently reversed their earlier endorsement of this amendment once the devil in the details became known. They also believe that severe Voting Rights Act implications are in play. While I support the inclusive government of, by, and for the people, I would like to see a more representative form of democracy beyond our existing two-party system. There are many other perspectives beyond those of Democrats and Republicans, and until our democracy represents all voices, we have more work to do to perfect our union.

2. The priority issues I am fighting for apply to all Floridians, not just those who live in Monroe County; these include using a science-based approach to COVID-19 recovery and addressing our climate emergency and sea-level rise. We must ensure all Floridians can receive the medical care they need to stay healthy, including expanding Medicaid and lowering prescription drug costs, especially of insulin and EpiPens. We must clean the polluted water that has been killing Florida Bay and our reef. We must push for increased affordable housing and childcare, invest in our public schools, and rid our politics of the corrupting influence of how campaigns are financed.

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