Raschein draws a mainland challenger for state House seat

lkahn@keynoter.com

November 21, 2015

State Rep. Holly Raschein has drawn a challenger in the 2016 election.

Raschein, a Republican from Key Largo, is opposed by Homestead Democrat Artie Leichner for the state House District 120 seat. The district takes in all of the Keys and part of south Miami-Dade.

“I don’t like the tone of the current Legislature,” Leichner said Friday. “I think the abuse of public education is horrific. I think we need more focus on the climate, the things we deal with in the Redland like you guys in the Keys.”

He said “this isn’t about Holly” but an ineffective Legislature.

Raschein was elected in 2012 and automatically re-elected in July 2014 when no one filed to run against her.

Leichner, retired from Miami-Dade schools, says he has been “in flux’ since August 2013 but is running a children’s charity. Prior to that, he spent a year and four months as South Florida treasurer for the federal labor union AFL/CIO. He is a past first vice president of the United Teachers of Dade union and taught in Miami-Dade public schools from 1982 to January 2005.

Leichner filed his candidacy Nov. 13 with the state Division of Elections.

Raschein was no stranger to politics when first elected. She had been the chief legislative aide for then-Rep. Ron Saunders (a Democrat) of Key West and, before that, held the same job with Rep. Ken Sorensen, a Tavernier Republican.

She’s spent the past week in committee meetings in Tallahassee to gain support for her Florida Keys Stewardship Act, under which the Keys would get millions of dollars annually for water-quality projects and to buy land for preservation.

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