Matt Haggman

U.S. Congress District 27

Recently stepped down from his position at the Knight Foundation

Former Miami program director at the Knight Foundation

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.

Matt Haggman is a political newbie, but he’s a well-known name in certain circles of Miami because of his five years as the Miami program director for the Knight Foundation. His unorthodox decision to focus Knight’s attention and loads of money on Miami’s young tech, innovation, and entrepreneurship spaces played a key role in vaulting them to national prominence and turning them into crucial components of the South Florida economy


NRA grade: F

According to his website, Haggman will make mandatory background checks and an “updated” assault weapons ban some of his top priorities, as well as keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, the mentally ill and children. He wants to implement “extreme risk protection order” laws – aka laws that will allow police to temporarily seize guns from a gun owner deemed to be a risk by a court – and push Congress to support research into the causes and effects of gun violence.


On ICE: Haggman has called for the abolishment of ICE (Immigration and Custons Enforcement). “It’s a relatively new agency which is absorbing federal resources in order to break up families and terrorize communities across the U.S.,” he states on his website.

DACA and immigration reform: Haggman has called for a “fair pathway to full citizenship” and a permanent solution for Dreamers, TPS recipients, and their families.


He wants to turn South Florida’s entrepreneurial success toward addressing sea level rise, and treat it as not just a challenge, but a job creation opportunity.

Renewable energy: On his website, Haggman makes a bold call – a “South Florida” moonshot – for us to become the first community in the U.S. to be “powered entirely by renewable energy.” To that end, he calls for an end to monopolies “that stifle innovation and limit choices for consumers” (We’re pretty sure he’s referring to FPL and their effort to keep a monopoly on solar power) and for “smart deregulation” that allows us to try new methods.

Criminal justice

Haggman says that “the United States is in desperate need of comprehensive criminal justice reform.” He calls for the elimination of the private prison industry complex; sentencing, bail, and juvenile justice reform; and better reintegration programs for people who have served their sentences. He supports the Voter Restoration Amendment, which would restore felons’ right to vote after they’ve served their sentences.

Editor’s note: Haggman’s previous employer, the Knight Foundation, is an investor in WhereBy.Us, The New Tropic’s parent company.