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Politics

GOP Primary Heats Up for Miami-Dade House Seat

September 18, 2013 - 6:00pm

With Rep. Eddie Gonzalez, R-Hialeah, facing term limits next year, two Republican candidates are already off-and-running for his House seat which represents parts of Miami-Dade County.

Educator Bryan Avila, an English professor at Miami-Dade College who serves on the Planning and Zoning and Scholarship boards of the city of Hialeah, filed to run for the House seat back in November 2011. Between entering the race and June 30, Avila raised $11,900 and kept most of it on hand, spending around $325. Earlier this year, Avila held off libertarian Manny Roman to become vice chairman of the Miami-Dade County Republican Executive Committee

Speaking to Sunshine State News on Thursday, Avila said he is running for the House seat to improve Floridas business climate and education across the Sunshine State.

I want to reform how the state is running, Avila said. We need to make sure Florida is more attractive to businesses. That will create jobs.

Avila said he supported cutting taxes and keeping government as small as possible to improve the business climate.

Noting he had experience as both a student and a teacher, Avila said education remained a concern, insisting our children are our No. 1 priority which was a reinvestment in Floridas future.

Pointing to the changing economy and increased global competition, Avila said education needed to better prepare students for tomorrows jobs and insisted his experience could help in Tallahassee. As an educator, I bring a very different perspective, Avila told Sunshine State News.

Having been born and raised in the district and having met his wife at a local middle school, Avila has deep ties to the area. Its very special to run and serve the members of our community, he said.

Standing in Avilas way is Alexander Anthony who filed last week to run in the Republican primary. This marks Anthonys second bid for elected office this year. He lost a campaign to serve on the Miami Springs City Council earlier this year.

Anthony has lived in the district since 2001 but has called Florida home since 1979. After working on Wall Street, Alexander headed to the Sunshine State where he ran two security service companies employing 1,200 people before selling the firms. He currently runs two businesses that employ 150 people.

Speaking to Sunshine State News on Thursday, Anthony said special interests control too much of Tallahassee and pushed for common-sense solutions to Floridas problems.

Im concerned about the size of government, Anthony told Sunshine State News. I want to bring a conservative, business perspective.

Turning to education, Anthony said he backed school choice options, including vouchers, to improve Floridas schools.

Im a huge fan of school choice, what Jeb Bush was trying to do, Anthony said.

Anthony also said he backed more private-sector involvement in curriculum to prepare students for future jobs. He called for more local control of schools and more parental involvement options.

There are no Democrats in the race yet and Gonzalez faced two write-in candidates back in 2012. This is one of the most solidly Republican districts in South Florida. with 46 percent of voters registered with the GOP while 29 percent are Democrats. In 2010, Rick Scott destroyed Alex Sink here in the gubernatorial election. Scott took 64 percent of the district while only 34 percent backed Sink.

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com.

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