Florida’s Puerto Ricans Influence House Races

Puerto Rican voters in Florida are expected to influence the presidential election this year, and it looks as though they’re making their mark on congressional races as well.

Kenneth McClintock, former Puerto Rico Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, and Senate President, has endorsed Democrat Stephanie Murphy, running in Florida’s 7th District against incumbent Congressman John Mica (R-FL). She came to the United States as a refugee from Vietnam, which McClintock said has given her compassion for immigrants and made her “a champion of minorities.”

“Puerto Rican voters in Central Florida will find in Stephanie Murphy a committed public servant who will stand by Puerto Rico, vote to extend equality in the earned income tax credit, child tax credits, and other programs that will help lift Puerto Rico out of its crisis, and focus on the needs of Hispanics nationwide,” McClintock wrote in his press release.

Murphy was quoted as saying, “In Congress, I will fight discriminatory policies and champion ideas to grow an economy that works for everyone.”

Darren Soto, who’s running for Rep. Alan Grayson’s seat in the 14th District, is the son of  a Puerto Rican father who came to New Jersey in 1996.  If elected, Soto will be the first Member of Congress from Florida of Puerto Rican heritage. Puerto Ricans are not immigrants, but Soto says that the Puerto Rican community has a “humane” viewpoint on immigration. He intends to support compassionate treatment of immigrants “from a moral point of view.”

He also wants to be an advocate for Puerto Ricans in Florida, and for the territory of Puerto Rico. “The whole Central Florida community wants to see recovery in Puerto Rico,” Soto told Fox News.  “They are a strong trading partner with us. We believe that increased prosperity in Puerto Rico will increase prosperity in Central Florida.”

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