U.S. Congress District 27
Representative for Florida House District 113
This post is part of our voter guide for the Aug. 28 local and primary elections. Head to the main landing page for a guide to the key races and decisions being made this election.
Last year, Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen announced she wouldn’t run for re-election in the 27th congressional district, opening up the seat for the first time since 1989.
Based on the questions you said you had for the candidates, we recapped their stances on the following issues: guns, immigration, climate change and the environment, and criminal justice. The winners of the Republican and Democratic primaries for this seat will face off in the November general election.
David Richardson, the representative for Florida House District 113, became the first openly gay legislator in the state when he was elected in 2012. Prison reform has been a central component of his political agenda for years, and as a legislator, Richardson regularly made unannounced visits to Florida prisons to see firsthand how inmates were being treated. He succeeded in getting one private prison shut down. Richardson’s the only Democratic candidate in the race who has previously served as a legislator.
NRA grade: F
According to his website, where he calls gun violence a “public health crisis,” Richardson says he will fight to ban bump stocks, assault weapons, and high capacity magazines and push for universal background checks and raising the minimum age for buying a gun to 21. He also wants to lift restrictions on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, which is responsible for regulating the gun industry but isn’t allowed to do basic things like digitize gun sale records or require annual inventory checks by gun sellers.
“Republicans are afraid of immigrants because diversity is a threat to their power,” Richardson writes on his website.
On ICE: Richardson has called for the abolishment of ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement). “I worked for years as a forensic auditor uncovering financial crimes, and I’ll work in Congress to call attention to ICE’s crimes and shut the agency down,” Richardson writes.
DACA and immigration reform: Richardson supports streamlining the visa application process and creating a pathway to citizenship for those who come to this country and commit no crimes. While he supports DACA and DAPA, he wants to push for a bill in Congress that will provide the same protections via a stronger mechanism than executive order.
Richardson, alarmed at the economic costs of inaction on climate change, especially for South Florida, says he will urge Congress to pressure President Trump to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement.
Renewable energy: Richardson says he will reverse President Trump’s tax on solar panels and push for more funding for green and environmentally resilient infrastructure projects. He will support subsidies for consumers and businesses that invest in renewable energy and fight regulations that make it harder to do so.
This is an area where Richardson made a name for himself as a state legislator, staging unannounced visits to prisons throughout the state and even succeeding in getting one prison shut down. In Congress he says he’ll fight to ban for-profit prisons, invest in public prisons, demilitarize police forces, require body cameras for police officers, pursue sentencing reform (i.e. reducing sentences for low-impact non-violent crimes), eliminate mandatory minimums for drug-related offenses, and support legalizing marijuana.