Taddeo, Garcia, Martinez Wow the Grey Panthers

Strong account of what must have been a great event by John Hood in the insurgent SunPost, Congressional Candidates Joe Garcia, Raul Martinez and Annette Taddeo Blast It for the Gray Panthers:

… Annette Taddeo, Raul Martinez and Joe Garcia, who are vying to represent what’s surely the majority of our peninsula’s tip: Taddeo and District 18, which stretches from Miami-Dade’s southern suburbs all the way to the Keys; Martinez and District 21, which includes his beloved Hialeah; and Garcia and District 25, which comprises much of Miami-Dade, as well as the entire Everglades.

If they were a band, this three-piece would sell out arenas, so it’s no surprise that on this day the turnout was just about standing room only. Each candidate is running on issues very near and dear to the Gray Panthers’ hearts, as well as their wallets — health care, prescription drug costs, housing — and each came out blasting the incumbents for a reckless disregard of the people and their needs.

Naturally, their opponents weren’t on hand to answer back, despite being repeatedly offered a chance to do so. According to Gray Panthers Miami-Dade Chapter board member and event organizer Jack Topel, today’s proceedings were “originally slated to be a debate, but there were scheduling conflicts, so we decided on forums. The Republicans — for whom we’ve set aside Oct. 18th — still haven’t replied.”

Too bad too, ’cause if they had, they would’ve met a gaggle of good folk consistently committed to cause. Then again, neither Ileana Ros-Lehtinen nor the Diaz-Balart brothers, Lincoln and Mario, has thus far accepted an invitation to debate anyone, unless you count Lincoln’s acceptance of an invitation from CBS, which was never even extended in the first place.

No matter, the Democrats showed and they showed strong. Joltin’ Joe Garcia, the natural who, given a podium, could command a crowd for days, opened the proceedings with a vow to take that which Mario had gerrymandered into being, and turn it into something representing a district, rather than a fiefdom. Taddeo, as determined as she is poised and informed, followed up by lambasting Ros-Lehtinen for, among other things, rubber-stamping Bush’s efforts to end the S-CHIP program. And then Martinez, who in person seems like the kinda man you’d want to take in a ball game with, concluded by warning everyone to be on the lookout for an element of fear to be injected into the coming election, adding a crack about the newfound respect hoisted upon former mayors since a certain someone was given the VP nod, even though he has represented condos with a larger population than the entire city of Wasilla.

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