The race to represent Miami-Dade and the Florida Keys in Washington, D.C. is on, as Republican Carlos Gimenez squares off against Democratic incumbent Debbie Mucarsel-Powell in the November election. 

Candidates haven’t had all the time in the world to campaign, as their attention has required them to confront the coronavirus pandemic. Republican candidate and current Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez continues to address matters concerning the pandemic on a policy level. Gimenez beat Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Lt. Omar Blanco in an Aug. 18 primary to face Mucarsel-Powell in the Nov. 3 general election. 

Meanwhile, Mucarsel-Powell continues to hear concerns from the district and has demanded more action to assist Floridians through passage of a COVID-19 stimulus package. 

Aside from the pandemic, the district continues to confront environmental and economic challenges, from the Everglades and sea level rise to overdevelopment and safeguarding natural resources.

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

1. What is the current state of U.S. and Cuba relations? If it needs improvement, what would you suggest to the next POTUS?

2. What is your best personal example of bipartisan leadership and achievement?

Debbie Mucarsel-Powell
Age: 49
Current job: Member of Congress

1.I stand with all those who have fled the oppressive Cuban regime in search of freedom, especially the families who have made their way to South Florida. The last 50 years of policy have not worked. It’s time for a change in policy. The Cuban people and their relatives are suffering unnecessarily due to limits on remittances and the separation of Cuban families seeking a better life in America. That is why I urge the swift adoption of my bill, the Cuban Family Reunification Act, to restart the Cuban Parole Family Reunification Program and keep families together.

2.I have proudly co-sponsored 10 bills that have been signed into law by President Trump, including legislation for coronavirus relief, a bill to protect veterans, and compensation for 9/11 victims. Here in South Florida, we know that climate change poses a threat to our lives and livelihoods. That is why I teamed up with Rep. Don Young (R-AK) to strengthen our coastal economy, and with Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL) to protect our clean water. As vice chair of the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment, I sped up construction of the Everglades Agricultural Area Reservoir.

Carlos Gimenez
Age: 66
Current job: Mayor, Miami-Dade County

1.After being forced to leave Cuba as a child because I was being indoctrinated under a communist socialist system, I strongly believe the U.S. must prioritize Cuba policies that focus on greater political and economic freedom for the Cuban people, not the regime. My opponent has stated repeatedly that the problem with U.S./Cuba relations is this administration and not communism. To believe that there is any other cause of Cuba’s problems that does not start and end with the Castro regime is foolish. She may endorse policies that prop up regimes, but I’ll support policies that undermine them and promote democracy.

2.My record speaks for itself; I’ve been elected five times in a mostly Democratic county as a non-partisan. As a firefighter, city manager and commissioner, I spent my life working with people from all viewpoints to find solutions to everyday problems. As mayor I’ve worked in a bipartisan way to deliver the largest tax cut in county history while promoting transparency and accountability. I led Miami-Dade’s Capital Improvement Project to improve environmental sustainability through planning for future climate changes and sea level rise. In contrast, my opponent has been rated as one of the most partisan members of Congress by the Lugar Center and McCourt School Bipartisan Index.

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