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State Senate: District 30 Primary

All voters can cast a ballot in District 30 face-off

July 31, 2014
Lehigh Acres Citizen

This is one primary race where the candidates have to impress more than just one party.

Incumbent Lizbeth Benacquisto will face Michael Dreikhorn in the District 30 Senate race in a universal primary in which all voters can participate, since there is no opposition in November. The winner goes to Tallahassee.

They faced each other in the Republican primary for the vacant Congressional District 19 seat, which Curt Clawson went on to win.

Article Photos

Lizbeth Benacquisto (incumbent)

* Lizbeth Benacquisto (incumbent)

Age: 46

Residence: Fort Myers

Occupation: State senator; Republican Majority Leader

It's been a busy year for Lizbeth Benacquisto, with a run for Trey Radel's old seat in Congress one highlight.

Despite being endorsed by Tea Party torchbearer Sarah Palin, the heavily conservative Benacquisto did not advance past the primary.

Despite that, she has become one of the more influential Republicans in the state as Senate Majority leader, and she said she wants to continue the progress the state has made fiscally if elected to her second and final four-year team.

"I've been focused on balancing the budget, we cut taxes, reduced fees and paid down our debt," Benacquisto said. "Our responsibility is to make sure our position in the state is strong and work with my colleagues on policies that allow businesses to be successful."

Benacquisto said she also worked to ensure state universities and colleges are preparing their students for the next generation of jobs, and she co-sponsored the Florida GI Bill

Benacquisto also is a social conservative who is pro-life, says marriage is between a man and a woman, and supports protecting Second Amendment rights.

If Benacquisto gets re-elected, her plan is to continue Florida on the same path, bringing in new business while protecting our resources close to home.

"We want to reduce regulations so if folks want to start a business, they can do it in a beneficial environment," Benacquisto said. "We also want to focus on protecting the Caloosahatchee and making sure we invest dollars to preserve the water quality and quantity we have in Southwest Florida."

* Michael Dreikhorn

Age: 52

Residence: Pine Island

Occupation: aviation, space and defense industry expert

Michael Dreikhorn makes no bones about his dissatisfaction with the leadership in Tallahassee and what he sees as a disconnect between the citizens and those who work for them.

That's why he chose to run for office for a second time this year.

"My objective is to bring the voice of the people back to Tallahassee and some good common business sense," Dreikhorn said.

Dreikhorn bases his candidacy on the 10th Amendment, which says the majority of the powers provided in the Constitution belong to the state to minimize overreach by the federal government and the state.

"That includes eliminating Common Core from Florida, preserving our Second Amendment right, and ensuring citizens are first, not illegal aliens and local control over the improvement of our waterways," Dreikhorn said.

If elected, the first thing Dreikhorn would do is introduce a bill to eliminate Common Core and return education to local control, and to reintroduce a bill brought forth by State Rep. Dane Eagle for a Second Amendment Preservation Act.

"We also have to think outside the box in terms of our economy. The government doesn't create jobs, it needs to get out of the way and allow the private sector to create them," Dreikhorn said. "The biggest burden is permitting. Going through five agencies, one federal, is crazy."

Dreikhorn said his business sense and intestinal fortitude makes him the better candidate.

"I owe nothing to nobody. I'm not a member of the establishment and I'm going to speak for the people, not the party," Dreikhorn said.



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