Editorial: Powell shows knowledge, focus on district needs


There are roughly 16 municipalities in Florida Senate District 30 — stretching from Tequesta south to Palm Beach and west to Loxahatchee Groves and Royal Palm Beach.

As diverse as this largely urban-suburban district is, its communities share concerns such as furthering economic development, providing affordable workforce housing for residents and fighting for public school dollars. They also share a need for a senator who can get Tallahassee to listen to those concerns.

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In the Aug. 28 primary, voters’ best chance of that happening is retaining state Sen. Bobby Powell, D-West Palm Beach.

He is being challenged for the seat by Rubin Anderson, 66, a West Palm Beach church pastor, substitute teacher and owner of a landscaping business.

But The Post endorses Powell, 36, for a second term. His experience and relationships established while in the state House helped the first-term senator snag the vice chairmanship of the influential Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development. In the 2018 legislative session, Powell helped pass local bills that secured $1.25 million for improvements to West Palm Beach’s Broadway Corridor and $1.5 million for Lake Worth’s Park of Commerce (although the latter is not in his district.)

Powell said he’s buoyed by the fact that in the state Senate “there is more opportunity to get things done because one vote can truly make a difference there.” He added that with only 38 of 40 votes available due to the resignations of Sens. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth, and Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, “literally every vote counted” in this year’s session.

The Post Editorial Board was disappointed in Powell’s votes on government transparency issues that earned him an “F” grade from the Florida newspapers and the First Amendment Foundation. The senator also sided with Republicans — and the business lobby — to add a November ballot question that could lead to tougher votes for future state legislators to raise taxes, shift tax burdens to local governments and make it harder to eventually address issues like sea-level rise.

Powell told The Post at the time that voters should have the opportunity to make the change. “If they say no, they say no,” he said.

Voters also send legislators to Tallahassee to make those tough calls for them.

We have confidence that Powell will learn that as he works to balance the needs of a district that is as diverse economically as it is racially and ethnically.

***

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



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