Editorial: Polsky blends progressive goals, small-business background

Updated Aug 02, 2018
  • By The Palm Beach Post Editorial Board
Tina Polsky, candidate for Florida House of Representatives, District 81

The two candidates squaring off in the Democratic primary for to fill the Florida House District 81 seat say much the same things about what the state and its people need.

Both Mindy Koch and Tina Polsky want better funding for public schools. Both talk about improving health care; the importance of gun safety, higher-paying jobs and workforce housing, and preparing for sea-level rise.

Their differences are in approach. Koch, 65, a retired public-school teacher in Broward and Palm Beach counties, is president of the Democratic Club of Boca Raton and Delray Beach. She’s a party stalwart who has done the hard work of organizing and canvassing for candidates for years.

To attain progressive goals in the Republican-led Legislature, Koch advocates that citizens apply pressure on statewide issues, similar in spirit to the widespread protests we’ve seen nationally in the age of President Donald Trump.

Polsky, 50, is a mediator who runs a legal-recruiting company with her husband. She says her skills as a mediator and her experience as a small-business owner (and former in-house attorney for large corporations) will help her find common ground with Republicans in Tallahassee.

With Democrats likely again to be the minority in the Florida House, we believe Polsky’s approach the one more likely to succeed. Therefore, the Post Editorial Board is endorsing her in the Aug. 28 primary race. The western Palm Beach County seat is being vacated by state Rep. Joseph Abruzzo, a Democrat who declined to seek re-election after 10 years in the Florida Legislature.

This is Polsky’s first try for elected office. The 13-year Florida resident has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a law degree from Columbia University. She serves on the Anti-Defamation League’s Civil Rights Committee and as the director of the Mitzvah Club, a women’s group that has raised thousands of dollars for local and national charities.

“I think it’s time for a strong, smart, reasonable Democratic woman to step in,” Polsky told the Editorial Board. She said she can connect to business and progressive communities alike. “I think my background as a leader will allow me to reach across the aisle and create compromise.

“I have a lot of confidence in myself to make things happen … to push our values forward,” she added.

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On gun control, for example, Polsky believes it possible to get Republican support for a gun-storage law to reduce accidents, suicides and toddler shootings. By strategizing a measure that even Second-Amendment proponents might agree to, Polsky shows an inclination toward practicing the art of the possible. Democrats can use that in Tallahassee.

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Read all of The Post’s endorsements online at www.MyPalmBeachPost.com/2018-endorsements.