Saturday, April 21, 2018
Politics

March column: Toledo sounding Trump-like in House race

Republican state House candidate Jackie Toledo is stirring up her primary with a promise to repeal Republican-backed 2014 laws allowing children of illegal immigrants to get in-state tuition at public universities and to get licenses to practice law.

"Jackie Toledo's list of bad bills to repeal on day one," says a recent Toledo mailer, listing "In-state tuition for ILLEGAL ALIENS," and "Law licenses for illegal aliens."

Both bills passed by wide margins in the GOP-dominated Legislature's 2014 session, as Republicans, following their 2012 electoral losses, sought to curry favor with Hispanic voters for the 2014 race.

The in-state tuition bill, applying to students who go through Florida high schools, was backed by two top Republican state lawmakers — Sen. Jack Latvala of Clearwater, this year's incoming Senate Appropriations Committee chairman, and former House Speaker Will Weatherford of Lutz.

It drew opposition from conservatives, but was combined with another measure supported by Gov. Rick Scott and conservatives freezing tuition hikes for all students. It passed 26-13 in the Senate and 84-32 in the House. Scott signed the bill, praising the tuition freeze.

The law license bill allows licenses to be issued to those brought to the United States as minors who have been here at least 10 years. It passed 79-37 in the House and 26-7 in the Senate.

Toledo faces Rebecca Smith in a primary in District 60, which centers on South Tampa. The winner will face Democrat David Singer.

Smith had no comment on Toledo's proposal.

Toledo spokesman Ryan Wiggins responded to questions for the candidate on how she would repeal legislation favored by the Republican legislative majority, saying she "will work with her colleagues in the Legislature to educate them on the need to change these unfair laws."

Toledo is the daughter of a legal immigrant family from Peru.

Lawyers boost Viera in council race

Tampa lawyer Luis Viera is the front-runner in fundraising for the Nov. 8 special election for the Tampa District 7 City Council seat, and much of the loot is coming from his legal community colleagues.

Viera raised $43,237 as of the end of July, followed by $23,618 for Cyril Spiro, including $6,590 from himself; $16,840 for Gene Siudut; $14,036 for Orlando Gudes; $6,325 for Avis Harrison; and $885 for Jim Davison.

Out of 186 contributions to Viera, at least 124 came from lawyers, law firms or their employees, according to his financial report. That includes seven contributions totaling $3,500 from members of his own firm, Ogden & Sullivan P.A.

"I'm honored to get support from the people I work with every day, largely on civic endeavors," Viera said.

Siudut, meanwhile, got $250 from his boss, La Gaceta publisher and Democratic political consultant Patrick Manteiga, but also $250 from Republican political consultant Mark Proctor, who's often on the other side of political races from Manteiga.

Siudut got $1,000 from Al Fox, a leading activist for rapprochement with Cuba, a cause of Manteiga's. But Siudut says he also received money from anti-Castro Cubans, including a company owned by Ybor City developer Steve Yturriaga.

Viera is the favored candidate of many prominent Democratic insiders and Siudut acknowledged, "Some people do view me as the anti-establishment candidate."

Anyone else notice? Buckhorn has 'big race coming up'

Mayor Bob Buckhorn delivered a funny and poignant remembrance for Tampa talk radio legend Dave McKay last week, recalling how McKay would purposely call him at awkward times to try to put him on the air, including once while he was in a White House meeting with President Obama, or record and endlessly replay any inane comment Buckhorn made.

"I know he's up there with Tommy Rivers right now; they're plotting to call me," Buckhorn said, speaking of another veteran country DJ who passed away. Then the mayor closed saying, "Dave, get to work, I've got a big race coming up."

Buckhorn has said he's considering running for governor in 2018 but won't decide until after the November election.

"Don't read too much into the eulogy," he texted when asked to explain. "Just having fun at my expense."

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