If you would like to help Joe’s campaign, consider donating to my Give in to Garcia ActBlue page. I’ve set a goal of reaching 50 contributions by November and we’re almost 1/5th of the way there. If two people at SSP contribute, we’ll meet that milestone!
Firstly, as a bonus to SSP readers, a new South Florida poll has just been released. From the Miami Herald/Zogby, Obama leads in South Florida by 16 points over John McCain in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties.
Among a crucial voting block in our three congressional races, Hispanics, he leads McCain 40 to 35 percent. If Obama is winning Hispanics even in South Florida, he’s going to expand on Democrats’ slight statewide Hispanic victory in 2006, as it only gets better with Hispanics in other parts of the state. If the polling is accurate, this is definitely a good sign for our three challengers and could signify they might be able to break even with South Florida Hispanics in the fall election.
As the article indicates, Cuban Americans just don’t care about the Cuba issue to the same degree as they did in the past and they are also beginning to trust Democrats more on travel restrictions and family remittances.
But Democrats point to signs that the Hispanic community’s political stripes are changing. A protest Saturday outside Obama’s speech in Miami drew only about three dozen people, mostly older Cuban-Americans. The group attacked Obama for surrounding himself with two high-level advisors who helped send Cuban rafter Elián González back to his father in Cuba.
When the custody battle raged eight years ago, Cuban-Americans rose up in droves. ”We understand the Elián González issue is something that passed, and that it was not Obama’s fault,” said Ramón Saúl Sánchez of the Miami-based Democracy Movement, who tussled with the federal agents who seized Elián from his relatives’ home in Little Havana. “People are giving more weight to other issues, like lifting the travel ban.”
More good news is that Obama is leading the independent vote 33-20 percent. Independents make up about a third of voters in the South Florida congressional districts. If these voters go straight downticket Democratic, then it will be a boost to our chances of victory.
While this is certainly good news, I would also like to give you some reasons besides Joe’s outstanding electability to support his campaign.
As the end of the quarter approaches this week, I would like to cover why Joe Garcia’s race is important, especially to progressives who want a Congress with more and better Democrats. As several commenters have mentioned on The Top Ten Races post at Open Left, Joe’s race against Bush rubberstamp Mario Diaz-Balart, could be a key symbol of the 2008 election.
One of the reasons the 25th district could be a symbol of change is an issue which has often been neglected on the national scene, the environment, a cause which Joe has often spoke up about. Joe previously served in the environmentally sensitive post of Chairperson of the Florida Public Service Commission. While serving there, he established preservation policies in our public utilities, only approved power plants fueled by natural gas (No coal plants), and required public water plants to adhere to higher standards set by the EPA.
In a live-blog at Firedoglake, when asked about dangerous mercury levels, Joe said this about environmental causes:
As the Representative that sits over some of the most precious wetlands in the country, I will ensure that the environment, and the preservation of natural resource, is foremost on the national agenda.
There is not only a need to control mercury levels, we must also work toward reducing carbon emissions and confront the challenges of global climate change.
It’s a good thing we have Joe running for this seat because the 25th district is one of the most environmentally sensitive races in 2008. This district contains Everglades National Park, the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States and a national treasure of breathtaking beauty. The park has been designated an International Biosphere Reserve, a World Heritage Site, and a Wetland of International Importance. It boasts rare and endangered species, such as the American crocodile, the Florida panther, and the West Indian manatee.
In the 25th district, we can replace a Republican who represents the Everglades but refuses to protect it. Diaz-Balart’s environmental record is so poor that he has a 10% lifetime rating from the League of Conservation Voters. Recently Diaz-Balart even admitted that he was wrong about originally supporting an Everglades Restoration bill after John McCain said he thought it was a bad idea. This change of heart came days before his presidential fundraiser with top South Florida business lobbyists and oil executives.
We need a Democrat representing the Everglades who will always stand up for environmental causes and more importantly we need one who cares about leaving the natural preservation in better shape than our generation found it. This is because the Everglades is under imminent threat. It has suffered significant degradation in recent decades and will be irreversibly damaged if we do not act soon.
Fortunately, we have the opportunity to replace the incumbent with a proven environmental leader. Joe Garcia will be a strong advocate for environmental issues. Joe understands that the Everglades not only deserves to be cherished for its remarkable beauty, but also it is a critical part of Florida’s delicate ecosystem.
Joe on cleaning up the Everglades:
The Army Corps of Engineers produced a report that in order to save the Southern Everglades from drying out, an 11-mile skyway was required. So far, the Bush administration, and the current leadership, have failed us on this issue.
Preserving and protecting our Everglades will be central to my efforts in Congress.
The preservation of the Everglades are important to Florida, our environment and they feed some of the most important hatcheries in the world.
Joe strongly supports the 11-mile Skyway proposal to restore the natural water flow of the Everglades. By contrast, Diaz-Balart supports the short-sighted one-mile alternative which the scientific community concurs will have little to no effect on the overall health of the Everglades. The restoration of the natural water-flow of the Everglades impacts future water supplies and land subsidence in South Florida; and this is critical considering the anticipated rise in sea levels. This is why Joe Garcia has stated one of his top priorities upon election will be to fully fund the 11-mile project and assure that this crucial step in restoring the Everglades is completed.
The Everglades is too important to allow it to be represented by a Congressman with absolutely no regard for the environment. Let’s help elect Joe Garcia to Congress so we have someone representing the Everglades who will always stand up to protect it and fight for a cleaner future.
The Everglades is just one reason to support Joe Garcia in our effort to take back South Florida. Please help Joe’s campaign by contributing on my ActBlue page or you can visit his website here.