A Times Editorial
© St. Petersburg Times, published October 20, 2000
Bob Henriquez has represented West Tampa and Town "N Country well during his two years in the Florida House. He is focused and resolute, and his agenda for seniors and school-kids is fitting for District 58.
Henriquez, a 36-year-old high school football coach, is a Princeton University graduate with a background in community planning. He understands the need to manage growth and protect environmentally-sensitive land. His conservative social values, appreciation for ethnic diversity and grasp of the positive-if-limited role government should play well serves this heavily Hispanic district.
Henriquez would use scholarships to lure talented teachers to struggling classrooms, expand vocational and technical training and improve access for seniors to health care and social services. He wants a statewide debate on Florida's nursing home crisis, an issue that will take center stage next year. Henriquez has a genuine feel for his constituents and is recognized by lobbyists and lawmakers across political lines as a voice of reason in Tallahassee.
Republican Eddy Calcines is a 45-year-old hair stylist making his second run for public office. He supports increased funding for the public schools and campaign finance reform. Yet Calcines seems comfortable attacking his political opponents over their personal beliefs and commitment to public service. He focuses on side issues instead of proposing ways to make Florida and the district better. He offers slogans, not solutions.
Henriquez is not only good for his district. His sound approach to lawmaking is also an antidote to heightened partisanship in the House. He has moved the Democrats toward the center on issues, such as education and the environment, that transcend ideology, making his minority party heard. The Times recommends Henriquez for another term.