2018 General Election Lost 60 — 40

From Sea to Shining Sea

Mary Barzee Flores https://marybarzeeflores.com/ has a story for our times.  She grew up just outside of Miami’s Little Havana.  Her dad, a store manager, sickened, lost his job, his health insurance, and died while Mary was in high school. 

Mary Barzee Flores learned what it was like when life is tough.  She worked in fast food.  She worked as a maid, dishwasher, waitress, bartenderShe remembers the low wages, she remembers the sexual harassment.  “As a woman who’s worked since I was 15 years old, I’ve dealt with handsy customers, with harassment, and even assault from a boss.”   She adds that she has also experienced bad behavior among professionals —  “as a lawyer, with a judge who made a crack about my looks on my very first day in court.”

The stories out of court are graphic.  When Mary Barzee Flores was seventeen, she became night manager of a  Pizza Hut. She took the place of her boss’ wife.  She recalls the manager following her into the walk-in freezer and shutting the door. He told her she was taking his wife’s place and she would do all his wife’s  duties  He groped her to make clear what he meant .

She was fortunate in her mother — who was a military veteran and could provide some support.  She was fortunate in her talent and her drive.  She went to the University of Miami intending to learn how to conduct an orchestra. Was she not talented enough?  Were women not particularly welcome in the field?  Was someone giving her kindly advice?  She was advised to get a law degree or an MBA.

Mary Barzee Flores got a law degree from the University of Miami, She was not going to be a professional musician.  After law school, she become a federal public defender and married Hector Flores. He now has a criminal defense practice with Mary Barzee Flores’brother.  She got herself elected to Florida’s state court — the state’s eleventh circuit.

Mary Barzee Floreshad developed connections and was good at the work.  She was nominated for a federal judgeship by President Barack Obama.  Like Merrick Garland and dozens of President Obama’s nominees, she never had a Senate conversation, never had a hearing.  Senator Bill Nelson supported her candidacy.  Senator Marco Rubio did not.  Rubio said that she had not fully disclosed her support for the American Civil Liberties Union or Emily’s List for her.  Rubio noted that there was an instance, when she was an accompanying attorney, that a client claimed ineffective counsel.  Rubio did not say the Republican controlled Senate was simply not considering Barack Obama’s nominees for the federal courts.

Mary Barzee Flores’ opponent also has a story.  A great story, really.  He is from a prominent Cuban and Cuban-American family.  His father was a Cuban politician.  His aunt was Fidel Castro’s first wife.  His uncle is a well known Cuban-Spanish painter.  His brother was a Congressman.  Another is a banker. Another is a journalist, a sometime anchor on NBC Nightly News.  Her opponent was first elected to Congress in 2002.  Running against Mario Diaz-Balart, running against any Diaz-Balart in Florida is running against an institution.

Florida has changed.  This district that runs from Miami (but not quite all the way to the Atlantic) north to the Everglades and west to Marco Island in the Gulf of Mexico has changed. It is still heavily Hispanic, more than 75%. Cuban-Americans are less ferociously anti-Castro now. Hispanics in Florida include people from other parts of Latin America, even refugees from the hurricane in Puerto Rico. Trump carried the district by only two points.  Nate Silver’s 538 says Mary Barzee Flores has a one in four chance to win this election.

Mary Barzee Flores wants people to look at Diaz-Balart on the issues.  She criticizes him on guns, healthcare, taxes, and immigration: “Diaz-Balart has voted repeatedly to rip away Floridians’ health care coverage, he’s earned an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association and taken more campaign cash from them than every other Florida member over the past 20 years. He’s voted to give tax cuts to billionaires, he’s paid lip service to Dreamers as he votes in lockstep with the Trump administration.”

Mary Barzee Flores wants people to look at Diaz-Balart as a Trump supporter.  In 2017, hewrote in an op-ed arguing that Trump should be impeached.  “Donald Trump isn’t on the 2018 ballot — but his presidency must be,” Barzee Flores wrote,  “We must be willing to tell voters, “I will vote to impeach Donald Trump and restore honor, respect and decency to the presidency.'”

Mary Barzee Flores identifies her central issues:

  • For the economy, she supports a $15 minimum wage and infrastructure investments that support wind and solar energy.
  • Regarding criminal justice, she would eliminate the war on drugs, cash bail, private prisons, and mandatory minimum sentences — all of which she sees as unjust for the poor and for minorities.
  • She would increase funds for public schools — from art programs to counseling, free community colleges and accessible universities. 
  • She describes Florida as ground zero in climate change and would return the US to the Paris Climate Agreement.
  • Regarding guns, she focuses particularly on ensuring universal background checks for people buying guns including private sales and gun show sales.
  • She commits to health care for all and women making decisions about their own bodies.
  • She would end the DREAMers uncertainty and reinstate DACA, insists that the immigrant dream is the American Dream, and recalls her father’s immigration from Mexico.

Will Diaz Balart’s political positions hold up in the new Florida?  He supports pro-life legislation, voted for the tax cut for the wealthy, voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, opposes same-sex marriage, mocks those concerned about climate change, and, when it was an issue, supported the creation of alternatives to social security.  He has been a strong supporter of Donald Trump and opponent of Barack Obama.  He was especially opposed to Obama’s willingness to rethink the relationship with Cuba.

Help Mary Barzee Flores https://marybarzeeflores.com/flip this seat.  This will be a Congressional race which requires a lot of resources.  Provide some of those resources for her.  She is worth the investment.