Free clinics' chief files state House bid
Nick Duran, the head of a group that advocates for free and charitable clinics in Florida and a longtime health care advocate, filed Monday for an an open House seat in Miami.
Pointing to large numbers of uninsured people and the amount of money being spent on incarcerating juveniles, Duran told the Times/Herald that he will make health care and education centerpieces of his campaign. Before being executive director of the Florida Association of Free and Charitable Clinics, he was state director of Enroll America, which works to help people find coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
But, he said, he doesn't expect to see changes like Medicaid expansion -- which House leaders oppose -- right off the bat.
"I'm going to focus on ensuring we have the right kinds of conversations and use the right kinds of data sets to find ways to solve the problems," he said.
The District 112 seat, currently held by Democratic Rep. Jose-Javier Rodriguez, who's running for the Senate, includes parts of downtown Miami and stretches down to Coral Gables. More than 70 percent of the distrit is Hispanic.
Four candidates have already declared for the seat. Two Republicans: teacher and onetime city commission candidate Rosa Maria Palomino and real estate lawyer Michael Davey. And two other Democrats: Tony Diaz, who ran a recall campaign against Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, and Waldo Faura Jr., who ran in Miami Beach in 2012.
The Democratic establishment appears to be gathering behind Duran. He's having a fundraiser 5:30 p.m. April 13 at lobbying firm Ballard Partners' Miami office. Expected to be in attendance are incoming House Democratic Leader Janet Cruz of Tampa, Rep. David Richardson of Miami Beach, former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz and lobbyists Ron Book, Brian Ballard and Bill Rubin.