Nearly 250 candidates are vying for state House and state Senate seats in 2020. Try as we will, Florida Politics can’t interview all of them.
Just like in 2016 and 2018, we’re again asking every candidate to complete a questionnaire we believe offers an interesting, albeit, thumbnail sketch of who they are and why they are running. If you are a candidate and would like to complete the questionnaire, email [email protected]
Today’s feature: Maureen Porras, a Democratic candidate for House District 105.
In 25 words or less, why are you running for office?
I am running for office to bring a voice to the issues and the people that are often ignored and neglected.
– Florida Coastal School of Law, Juris Doctor, 2014.
– Florida International University, B.A. in Political Science (Minor in Psychology), 2010.
– Miami Palmetto Sr. High School, 2006.
What was your first job?
– Unpaid: Assembling newspapers at a newspaper warehouse with my family.
– Paid: Receptionist at a law firm.
Significant other? Kids?
Spouse: Caleb Johnston, Esq. No kids, but 6 nephews who we love dearly and consider our children!
Did you speak with anybody in your political party before deciding on running? Receive any encouragement?
Yes. I was encouraged to use my voice as a Hispanic female and my eleven years of immigration experience helping families and vulnerable populations to assist and help my community in the State legislature.
Who do you count on for advice?
My husband is my constant sounding board, but I also count on my family and campaign team for advice.
Who is your political consultant? Campaign manager?
Christian Ulvert and Haleigh Hutchison.
Who was the first person to contribute to your campaign? Why did they donate?
Anders Carlson, one of my husband’s close friends from Iowa. As soon as I announced my campaign he donated because he believes in my candidacy and knows my passion and drive.
Who, if anyone, inspires you in state government?
I’m inspired by Sen. Annette Taddeo because of her tenacity and her commitment to serve the people of Florida. She is a strong voice for our community and for all women.
Why do people mistrust elected officials and what are you going to do about it?
People mistrust elected officials because many are self-serving and have agendas that do not serve the needs of their communities, but rather, the needs of a select few. I plan to use my proven track record of having served the most underprivileged populations for the past eleven years to demonstrate to the constituents that I am not a career politician, but that I am a lifelong advocate for those whose voices are often not heard. I plan to use my life experiences to make sure that the best interests of our communities are behind every decision I make as a legislator. As a legislator, I will continue to elevate the needs of our community 365 days out of the year.
What are 3 issues that you’re running on?
– Investing in our public education system by properly funding public schools and divesting public funds from charter schools.
– Reforming our criminal justice system to end the disproportionate effect it has on minorities. This includes, ending mass incarceration, prioritizing pretrial diversion, ending cash bail, implementing rehabilitation programs, and protecting our immigrant community.
– Protecting our environment and Florida’s vast ecosystems, including improving and maintaining our water quality; transitioning to renewable energy; and putting a focus on resilience and mitigation efforts.
What is a “disruptive” issue you are interested in?
Short-term rentals, medical marijuana, and renewable energy. While short-term rentals have already shaken up much of Florida, the creation of medical marijuana and renewable energy markets our issues that we are on the cusp of breaching and Florida needs progressive leaders who can handle these emerging issues.
What does your legislative district need from Tallahassee?
Due to the unique boundaries of District 105 (which covers parts of Dade, Broward, and Collier Counties) and its vast demographics, my district needs unity from Tallahassee. District 105 needs a candidate who can represent the interests of all its constituents, regardless of party preference, race, gender, or socioeconomic status. The people of District 105 need a legislature who will fight for them and their causes day-in and day-out, just as I do every day as an immigration attorney for a nonprofit organization.
Who was the best governor in Florida’s modern history?
I am currently waiting for her.
If you could amend the Florida Constitution, what would you change?
Article I, Section 27, defining marriage as the legal union between a man and a woman. This provision is unconstitutional and needs to be amended. As it stands, this section undermines the validity of same-sex marriages and unions, which our courts have consistently validated.
Are yard signs an important part of campaigning in your district?
Yard signs are a good demonstration of support for a candidate. Due to the make-up of my district (there are many HOAs and Condo Associations), it is sometimes not permissible to place yards signs in a lot of the communities within my district.
What’s the first thing you read each morning?
Typically, I quickly scroll through Facebook to catch up on events and get my brain moving, then I switch to various local, state, and national news sources. I also try to read an inspirational quote to get me motivated for the day.
Where do you get your political news?
I get my political news from local news outlets; Florida Politics and other statewide news sources (Miami-Herald, Sun-Sentinel, Orlando Sentinel, Tampa Bay Times, etc.); and the New York Times, Washington Post, and MSNBC.
Social media presence? Twitter handle?
In 280 characters, what’s a Tweet that best describes your campaign message?
Now more than ever, Tallahassee needs women’s voices and leadership. I will bring a voice to the people and the issues that are often ignored and neglected. I will stand up for our communities and ensure that Tallahassee has a leader that truly reflects our values and needs.
Gardening, traveling with my husband, and spending time with our pets and nephews.
Favorite sport and sports team?
I am a lifelong Miami Heat fan and attend games regularly. Since marrying my husband, who is from Missouri, I have found a home in the St. Louis Cardinals’ fanbase. We often attend Cardinals’ spring training games in Jupiter, Florida and travel to see them play at least once a season.