Endorsement: Pick Deutch for U.S. House
In the Florida Legislature, Ted Deutch has shown he can work across the aisle to get things done. But the Democratic state senator from Boca Raton also knows when to take a stand on principle. Sen. Deutch is the best choice to fill the U.S. House District 19 seat in the April 13 special election. Early voting starts tomorrow. The seat will be up for election again in November.
Democrats are badly outnumbered in the Florida Senate and House. But last year Sen. Deutch persuaded the fervently anti-tax Republicans to support a $1 per pack tax on cigarettes. The revenue has been important to the state this year, even if Sen. Deutch’s primary goal was to discourage smoking.
Given that he’s running in an overwhelmingly Democratic district to replace Rep. Robert Wexler, who resigned to run a Middle East think tank in Washington, it’s no surprise that Sen. Deutch is reliably liberal. It’s also no surprise he frequently has been on the losing side in the Legislature. When the Florida Senate approved SB 6, a heavy-handed attempt to impose FCAT-based merit pay on teachers, Sen. Deutch voted against it and said, “Let’s be clear about one thing. Testing is not teaching.” He was one of only two senators who also stood up to the gun lobby to vote against a bill to keep adoption agencies from asking prospective parents about gun ownership.
Mr. Deutch will fit in better in the U.S. House, which is controlled, at least until the November election, by Democrats. There, he will be a supporter of President Obama’s recently passed health care legislation, particularly covering existing conditions and closing the doughnut hole.
Sen. Deutch also supports Mr. Obama’s policy of sending more troops to Afghanistan. To justify the U.S. commitment, however, Afghanistan has to assume increasing responsibility. Keeping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and threatening the United States and Israel is another top foreign policy concern. He has said such issues outweigh any momentary U.S.-Israeli disagreements, such as Israel’s announcement of housing construction in East Jerusalem during Vice President Biden’s recent trip.
Domestically, he wants to ensure that stimulus dollars are disbursed as quickly as possible and that future spending is focused on helping small businesses. Helping homeowners facing foreclosure is another priority.
He faces two opponents, Republican Edward Lynch and Jim McCormick, a former Republican with no party affiliation. Neither has supported key domestic objectives of the Obama administration. Mr. Lynch’s record features a number of financial disputes. Most recently, his homeowners’ association filed a lien against him for unpaid maintenance assessments. Both opponents are long shots in the district. Both deserve to be, and not just because it is a Democratic stronghold.