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If — big if — Dems win, Florida’s Ted Deutch is poised to assume power

MIAMI HERALD OP-ED


BY MIKE ABRAMS
mike@ballardfl.com

JULY 17, 2017 7:53 PM
 

There is growing hope among congressional Democrats that President Trump’s historic unpopularity and the ongoing Russian investigations may allow them to retake control of the U.S. House. Republicans have a 246-187 edge in members, so a swing of 30 seats is what the Democrats would need in the 2018 elections.

In Miami-Dade County, there are two seats the Democrats can pick up. Should the Democrats regain control of the House, the most important Democrat in Florida you may never have heard of will be Rep. Ted Deutch, whose district encompasses parts of Palm Beach and Broward counties.

Before running for the Florida Senate in 2006, Deutch was a successful lawyer for a large firm. In the state Senate, he quickly gained bipartisan respect for his evenhanded approach to legislation and his accessibility. In 2010, when then-U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler resigned to pursue opportunities in the private sector, Deutch was the logical choice to be his successor.

Upon election to Congress, Deutch chose to be a “workhorse,” that is, a new member of Congress who chooses to methodically earn respect among his peers by learning policy and demonstrating expertise. For example, he has become an ardent proponent of campaign finance reform and is the lead Democrat on the Udall-Deutch Constitutional Amendment to remove big money from politics. Deutch is an expert on the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet, where he has introduced legislation to strengthen U.S. copyright and patent systems.


It’s not sexy, but it is the kind of hard work that fellow members respect. Deutch’s commitment to bipartisanship extends to climate change. With Miami’s Rep. Carlos Curbelo, Deutch created the Climate Solutions Caucus, which has an even number of Republicans and Democrats working on the dangers of climate change.

However, it is Deutch’s role as the ranking Democrat on the Middle Eastern Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee that has begun to elevate his public profile, especially among the influential pro-Israeli donors in America. Deutch’s fingerprints can be found on several Iran sanctions bills as they moved through Congress as well as leading efforts to apply sanctions on Hezbollah. For pro-Israeli hardliners, his vote against President Obama on lifting the Iranian embargo solidified his standing in the community. For moderate Jewish voters, there is an acceptance of Deutch’s vote because he is viewed as a man of principle.

In the current political environment, it is not enough to just have a good inside game. You also have to develop a public profile and, of course, have the ability to raise money for the party reelection committees and other candidates. In recent days, Deutch has been popping up more regularly on CNN and MSNBC. He even appeared on Morning Joe, taking on President Trump’s foreign policy.

It was interesting to note that Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi’s most recent fundraiser in South Florida was first scheduled in Deutch’s territory, with Miami added later. A little tea leaf like that sometimes often signals whose star is rising. The fundraiser was apparently an enormous success, reportedly raising more than $300,000.

I am not alone in my distaste for the Democratic Party continuing to recycle the same leadership that has led to repeated defeats. Notwithstanding my recent oped on Pelosi’s losing ways, I will take it as a hopeful sign that Pelosi tapped Deutch to be the ranking member of the sensitive House Ethics committee, the same committee now investigating House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes for allegedly leaking classified information.

Years ago, frustrated with the pace of Congress, Deutch was considering other political options. Now that he has decided that he has the requisite patience to pursue leadership in the House, the stars may be aligning for him. The hope is that there will be a cohort of other younger Democrats around the country joining him after the 2018 elections.

 

MIKE ABRAMS IS FORMER CHAIRMAN OF THE DADE DEMOCRATIC PARTY, A FORMER STATE LEGISLATOR AND CURRENTLY A POLICY ADVISER TO BALLARD PARTNERS.

 

Campaign money is focus of Ted Deutch town hall

U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, a Democrat who represents most of Broward and southeast Palm Beach County, held a town hall in Wilton Manors on April 13, 2007. The event, hosted by the activist group Indivisible Broward, was focused on the influence of money in politics, but Deutch addressed other issues.

 

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Ted Deutch will represent Broward well | Editorial

Since his election to U.S. House of Representatives in 2010, Ted Deutch has become a popular politician in northern Broward and southwest Palm Beach County.

Now he's running for a farther-south seat that will make him more of a full-time fixture in Broward.

The Sun Sentinel Editorial Board strongly endorses Deutch in the District 22 race because he has proven himself to be a smart and responsive Congressman with real leadership potential.

After redistricting placed Deutch and Lois Frankel in the same district, they agreed not to run against one another. Instead, they swapped seats. Previously, Deutch represented only a small portion of northwest Broward. In the new district, he would represent only a small portion of Palm Beach County, primarily Boca Raton and Highland Beach. The rest of the district lies within Broward.

Deutch, 50, is running against Republican Andrea McGee, a 33-year-old Realtor from Pompano Beach.

McGee is a nice person, but she is out of her league in running for Congress. This is her second attempt, having lost in the 2014 Republican primary. This time, she faced no primary opponent.

If McGee wants to succeed in politics, she'd be better off running for a local or state race and better learning the region and the issues.

In their joint candidate interview with the Sun Sentinel Editorial Board, for example, McGee was unaware of the Congressional battle over Zika funding — a key issue facing South Florida at the time.

McGee calls Deutch "a nice guy," but accuses him of "district chasing." She points out that he doesn't live in the district, which is true. Deutch lives in a part of Boca that is part of the new District 21. However, congressmen are not required to live in their districts and Deutch shouldn't be penalized for living just outside the lines of a city that remains in his district.

Deutch, a former state lawmaker, was first elected to Congress six years ago after Robert Wexler resigned to lead the Center for Middle East Peace and Economic Cooperation. In his first race, Deutch defeated Republican Edward Lynch by 27 points. He hasn't faced a Republican opponent since then, until now.

Deutch is a strong advocate for issues that affect South Florida, including strengthening Social Security and Medicare, stronger environmental protections and keeping flood insurance rates affordable for consumers.

He has repeatedly urged Gov. Rick Scott to empower the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation to regulate healthcare insurance premiums to expand care and lower costs. He considers this a strengthening of the Affordable Care Act.

He opposed the Iran nuclear deal, but now that it's passed, he wants Congress to ensure Iran fully complies with its terms.

"In addition, I will continue to support efforts to punish the Iranian regime for its nefarious activities outside of their nuclear program, including its support of terrorist groups around the world, its egregious human rights violations against its own population, and its testing of ballistic missiles capable of transporting nuclear weapons," he wrote on his questionnaire.

Deutch has introduced bills to ban the sale of military-style assault weapons and restrict the sale and possession of firearms with high-capacity magazines. Of the bills he's sponsored, nearly a quarter have addressed crime and law enforcement issues.

Deutch has been an asset for Palm Beach County and will continue to be the same for Broward. There's no question he's the better candidate in this race.

 

 

Copyright © 2016, Sun Sentinel

 

 

On the ballot: Post's endorsements for Nov. 8 general election

Three incumbents from our area already have shown the ability to work when possible in a bipartisan fashion. We endorse each of these Democrats: U.S. Reps.Alcee Hastings, Dist. 20,Lois Frankel, Dist. 21, andTed Deutch, Dist. 22. All of the districts — newly drawn, as per last year’s redistricting court ruling — remain heavily Democratic.

Hastings, seeking a 13th term, still commands respect on both sides of the aisle. We have concerns about his support of the payday lending industry, but he is a leading voice on issues such as gun control, immigration and health care for seniors. His knowledge of trade and transportation infrastructure should be an asset to the Port of Palm Beach. His Republican opponent, Gary Stein, did not meet with The Post Editorial Board.

Frankel, after two terms in office, has grown into the job. A go-to person for local mayors because of her stint at the helm of West Palm Beach, she also bird-dogged passage of a second Water Resources Development Act, important to Everglades restoration, and has taken a key role in seeking federal help on the sober home issue. Frankel’s Republican opponent, Paul Spain, is trying for a second consecutive time to unseat her.

Deutch, also seeking a third term, told the editorial board that he’d like to continue pushing for gun control and other staple Democratic positions. He’d also like to see Congress address the growing opioid overdose epidemic. His Republican opponent, Andrea Leigh McGee, did not meet with the editorial board.

Deutch, Frankel and Hastings each deserve another term.

Rep. Ted Deutch Announces Intention to Run in Florida's Newly-Approved 22nd District

(Boca Raton, FL) Congressman Ted Deutch issued this statement following the Florida Supreme Court ruling that finalized congressional districts for the 2016 elections:

Ten years ago, I took a leap and ran for a Florida State Senate seat from Broward and Palm Beach counties. I ran for public office because after years volunteering and working in the community to help those in need, promote tolerance, and strengthen the U.S.-Israel relationship, I saw elected office as a way to have a greater impact on the South Florida that my family and I love to call home.

Congressman Ted Deutch released the following statement on the redistricting ruling issued today by the Florida Supreme Court, which finalized congressional districts for the November 2016 election:

Today, I am excited to announce that I intend to for re-election to Congress in Florida’s newly-drawn 22nd congressional district. The new 22nd district stretches from Fort Lauderdale in the south to western Broward communities like Margate, Coral Springs, and Parkland and portions of southern Palm Beach County including Boca Raton.

The 22nd district, approved today by the Florida Supreme Court, is home to around 300,000 constituents I am proud to serve today, as well as thousands of Broward and Palm Beach County residents I previously represented in the Florida Senate and in Congress. I am excited to run in the community where my wife and I work, where my daughters graduated and my son attends high school, where my family goes to synagogue, and where I have spent so much time working for and with the people of South Florida.

The residents of Broward and Palm Beach know me for more than the time I’ve spent in their businesses, community centers, schools, retirement communities, and churches. They know me from the years I’ve spent working for Port Everglades expansion and beach renourishment, organizing veterans jobs fairs at the Fort Lauderdale Armory, and hosting community forums on student loans, immigration, and other important issues at Florida Atlantic University and Broward College.

During my time in Tallahassee and my four terms in Congress, I’ve been honored to pass laws   that fund cancer research, tighten sanctions on Iran, and award veterans with medals of honor they were wrongfully denied. I also take pride in my work securing federal funding for the roads, ports, and infrastructure that South Florida businesses need to grow and compete, and in these times of global uncertainty, my role as top Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa.

South Florida’s economy has come a long way since the financial crisis, with our tourism and real estate sectors back in business and more Floridians back at work. Yet we also face enormous challenges that deserve real solutions, from growing incomes and helping more Americans retire securely to making college more affordable.

The issues that we face in South Florida and as a country, like the deadly mass shooting that struck San Bernardino just hours ago, have no boundaries. Now is the time for us to move forward together as a community and as a country, and I am more committed than ever to delivering progress for the people of South Florida.  

I have devoted my entire career in public life to serving the people of both Broward and Palm Beach counties. The new 22nd district offers me the only opportunity to continue working for both of these wonderful communities in Congress, and I am proud to put my record of accomplishment up against anyone.

In the coming months, I’ll be working harder than ever to continue championing the concerns, aspirations, and needs of the people of Broward and Palm Beach counties in Congress.