Letter to Jose Javier Rodriguez Urging him to run for Congress

15 December 2020

Dear José Javier Rodríguez:

Anticipating the inauguration of Joe Biden as President and Kamala Harris as Vice President fills us with relief and optimism. We can finally celebrate the positive changes competent leadership will bring to our beloved country. As Miami-Dade County residents, we want intelligent, compassionate, and consensus-oriented leadership in Congress to support Biden-Harris initiatives and restore our country’s image at home and around the world. We want someone who will champion the working class, strengthen small businesses, fight for affordable health care, fund public schools, support equality among all Americans, combat climate change, and promote democratic ideals in the U.S. and Cuba.

We saw how you fought for us in the Florida House of Representatives from 2012 to 2016 and in the Florida State Senate from 2016 to 2020. We were proud to see you combat climate change and champion affordable housing initiatives. Your commitment to constituent services, your relationship with the community, and your representation of inclusive American values made you a favorite native son. After all, you were raised in Miami, graduated from Brown University, served in the U.S. Peace Corps, graduated from Harvard Law School, and returned to Miami to work as attorney for employees needing help with labor unions and employee benefit funds. You’ve gone from José Javier Rodríguez to our beloved “JJR.”

And now we need you.

Florida’s 27th Congressional District is an important seat – politically, historically, and emotionally. It covers an area that is nearly 72% Hispanic – a majority of which consists of Cuban Americans. Diversity matters. Inclusion matters. Representation matters. We now have a Cuban American in this seat, but María Elvira Salazar does not represent our values. This must be remedied in 2022. While we would value any Democrat who espouses our own values in this seat, we want a highly qualified and admirable Cuban American Democrat such as yourself representing us. As the son of a Pedro Pan refugee who immigrated as an unaccompanied minor, you know well the trauma of the Cuban exile and would be sensitive to the Cuban American voter. More importantly, we – regardless of our ethnicity – want someone who knows us, someone who will fight for us, someone who is us to be in that seat.

JJR, we urge you to run for Congress and represent us in the United States House of Representatives. We need someone as intelligent, compassionate, and fair-minded as you in this seat so that Florida’s diversity can be well represented on the national stage. If you were to answer our call to run for Congress, you will have our unflagging support from the primaries to the general election when it comes to knocking on doors, registering voters, fundraising, and spreading the word about how you can represent our community and the entire country as our Congressman.

With gratitude for the work you have done and hope for the work you will do,

Horacio Sierra, President – Miami-Dade Cuban American Democratic Club

Lidia Moore, First Vice-President – Miami-Dade Cuban American Democratic Club

Agustín Bel, Second Vice-President – Miami-Dade Cuban American Democratic Club

Steve Portal, Secretary – Miami-Dade Cuban American Democratic Club

Juan Reyes, Treasurer – Miami-Dade Cuban American Democratic Club

Hector Caraballo – Former President of Miami-Dade Cuban American Democratic Club

Ibis Valdés, Diversity and Inclusion Consultant

Darien Borges, Guardian Ad Litem

Mike Rivero, Sales and Management

Alfred Soto, College Professor

Victor Otero, Writer/Producer

Pablo Pimienta, Government Affairs Administrator

Dallas Williams, Small Business Owner

Eduardo De La Vega, County Clerk

María Elena Lopez, Real Estate Broker

Jackie Kellogg, President – Key Biscayne Democrats Club

Cecilia Tavera-Webman, Realtor

María Elena Lopez, Realtor

Loraine Diaz, Elementary School Teacher

Leonardo Peralta, Business Consultant

Carmen Pelaéz, Playwright

Elijah Rothman, FIU College Student

Jonathan Smith, Environmental Law Attorney

William Harris, Realtor

Charles Walter, Digital Product Manager

Toni Rodriguez, Legislative Aide

Johnnie McDonald, Small Business Owner

Millie Herrera, Small Business Owner

Clinton Castro, College Professor

Molly Castro, Librarian

Janet Katz, Retired Educational Administrator

Ron Canizares, Businessman

Adrian Delgado, President – Miami-Dade Young Democrats

Richard Steinbook, Retired Doctor

Suzanne Steinbook, Retired Teacher

Lynn Hausmann, Retired Speech Language Pathologist

Kurt Wagner, Sales Executive

Renee C. Shafer, Realtor

Erin Clancy, Consultant

Marya Meyer, Manager

Carolyn Koslen, Digital Marketing Professional

Eileen Lapaz, Broward College Student

Shed Boren

Al Leon

Lois Leon

Diana Ordonez Sanchez, Realtor

Max Lavi, Engineer

Sofia Sanchez, Attorney

Dr. Amy Clement, Professor of Atmospheric Sciences

Kenny Broad, Anthropologist

Lucía Meyer-Wilson, Student

Carolina Garcia Jayaram, Executive Director of The Elevate Prize Foundation

Laura Quinlan, Concert Presenter

Conchita Espinoza Chediak, Small Business Owner

Nat Chediak, Film Programmer

Javier Baños, Certified Public Accountant

Ana Suarez, Teacher

Dennis Edwards, Retired

Mark Steinberg, Retired

Toby Rohrer, Property Manager

Theo Long, Executive Director of Biscayne Nature Center

Catalina Hart Hidalgo, Educator

Norman Aynbinder, CEO American Excursionist

Juan Talavera, Social Worker

Jeff Ronci, Writer

Gregory Boan, Attorney

Aimee Barat, Writer

Steven Priepke, Educator

Matthew Tisdol, Community Organizer

Jane Torres, Moms Demand Action Organizer

Suzanne Hurst, Retired