LETTER TO THE EDITOR: State senate candidate focuses on clean water, open economy, police support

July 17, 2020
By Olivia Cameron

To the Editor:
Over the next month voters will cast their ballots for the Republican nominee for State Senate. In order to make an informed decision, voters need to know what a candidate believes and whether that candidate can be an effective Senator for their community. As a candidate for the Florida State Senate who has represented Boca Grande in the Florida House of Representatives for the past eight years, I have a proven track record demonstrating both my governing philosophy and my effectiveness for you.
I believe that government should be limited and operated in a fiscally conservative manner.  I’m proud to say that we have governed Florida that way during my eight years in the State House.  These aren’t just words being said during a campaign. There is real evidence to prove it.  
First, during my time representing you in the Florida Legislature, we have balanced the budget every single year. Our budget is truly balanced without any accounting tricks or gimmicks.
Second, over the past eight years, no state in America has cut taxes as much as Florida. We’ve cut taxes by $10 billion dollars. I truly believe that you know how to spend your hard earned money better than any government bureaucrat up in Tallahassee.  Next, it does no good to cut taxes if we pay for those tax cuts by borrowing more money and increasing the debt of the taxpayers. During these same eight years, no state in America has reduced its debt as much as Florida. We’ve paid down over $8 billion dollars in debt. Finally, true fiscal conservatives set aside funds for unanticipated emergencies. I’m proud to say that we have set aside over $4 billion dollars in the State’s Reserve accounts. These healthy reserves are how Florida was able to weather the storm of the COVID-19 pandemic without calling a Special Session to cut the budget.
My commitment to you is that if you send me to the Florida State Senate, I will be a champion for these same conservative fiscal policies that have served our state so well over the past decade.
While it is important for your next State Senator to have the correct “big picture” perspective, it is equally important that person be an effective Senator for your community here in Boca Grande. I’m proud to say that during my time in the Florida House of Representatives representing Boca Grande that I have worked closely with your current State Senator, Lizbeth Benacquisto to advocate for issues that are important to you.  Between 2013 and 2015 we secured over $2,250,000 in appropriations for the Gasparilla Island Beach Restoration Project. The beach is vitally important to the quality of life in Boca Grande and I’m proud that we were able to secure the appropriations necessary to improve and protect it.
If I am elected to the Florida State Senate, I will continue to work on issues that are important to you. These issues include: 
1) Support the continued re-opening of Florida’s economy and promoting job growth
2) Continue advocating for Water Quality projects that reduce the volume of water released from Lake Okeechobee into the Caloosahatchee River
3) Oppose all efforts to defund the police here in Florida
4) Strengthen Florida’s government-in-sunshine statutes to increase government accountability and transparency
It has truly been an honor to represent you for the past eight years. If you agree that these should be priorities for the next Legislature, then I humbly ask for your continued support. Together, we can achieve success.
Ray Rodrigues