Letter: Why we need something new for Florida

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I remember watching Gov. Ron DeSantis’ first ad as a candidate, featuring his two small children. It’s not the use of family that upset me, that’s a common and accepted practice; it was the images of his children building a “wall” with cardboard bricks and reading a book on political division.

DeSantis showed us all who he really was in that moment: a politician who will stoop to political propaganda to stay relevant. The commercial was intended to energize a radical base and score political points. Those tactics did not end on election day, sadly persisting at the expense of our children.

This next election cycle will once again test our humanity with career candidates and accolades seekers who have forgotten their own name, preferring the titles of Senator, Congressman, etc. They will change political parties; they will run and run; they will change core beliefs because of the higher office they seek. They will sell out to whomever because they care more about their image than they do about serving our community.

I met Nikki Fried in the summer of 2018. We were both first-time candidates, both told it could not happen, and we both won. We both arrived in Tallahassee with the odds stacked up against us. The environment in the Legislature is not particularly welcoming to women who are told to follow antiquated rules and learn and play “the game”.

Well, “the game” has not benefited our communities, so Nikki and I took on that fight. Here’s what doesn’t get reported: Nikki made her way into the legislative chamber and offered her resources to make us better, especially towards freshmen legislators like myself. She won in our State as a democrat, a woman, a Miami girl – the only one to do so in decades.

Nikki is someone who does the right thing when nobody is watching. I do not seek perfection, but I absolutely expect courage, integrity, and someone who will never remain silent in the face of political inconvenience.

I am proud to be a girl from Hialeah with Colombian-American roots who learned the hard way that sharing similar heritage or language doesn’t always translate to adequate representation or speaking up when it matters.

My political moment was exhausting and has come to an end; but I’m encouraged because Nikki battles on. We deserve a Governor for Florida like Nikki. She will never forget to help others. We deserve Something New.

Cindy Polo served as Florida State Representative for District 103 from 2018 to 2020. She represented Northwestern Miami-Dade and Southwestern Broward.

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