Because It’s My Job….
Some get excited. Some get annoyed. But part of our job as citizens is to participate in the democratic process; to inform ourselves and ultimately, to vote. People fought and died for the privilege and we owe it to them not to take it lightly.
November 6 is right around the corner and with it comes a barrage of choices for voters. Each choice will affect our lives, our wallets and our communities. But WHO are we electing? And what have they signed on to do? Let’s have a quick look at the positions and “job descriptions” for the candidates on the ballot.
And heads up: If you live in Key Biscayne your Congressional District is D-27; your State Senate District is D-37; your State House District is D-112.
While members of Congress are paid $174,000 per year plus benefits, our State Senators and House Representatives only receive $29,697/year plus a $152 per diem when in session in Tallahassee. Just as reference: A family of four would have been considered below the poverty line in 2017 if their combined income was less than $24,848.
MAYOR OF KEY BISCAYNE & the KEY BISCAYNE COUNCIL.
We will elect a new Mayor and 3 (of 5) Council Members; none of these positions draw a salary. The mayor and the council members are elected to two-year terms. The mayor terms out after 2 consecutive terms. Those elected to either office are limited to not more than eight consecutive years.
The Council, as the legislative body of the Village, determines public policy to meet community needs and appoints a Village Manager, who is responsible for administration of that policy and managing the Village’s departments and services. The Council also appoints the Village Clerk and the Village Attorney. The Council is responsible for the overall direction of the village and general welfare of Key Biscayne residents.
We elect one for Congressional District 27. The Senate, with the House of Representatives, comprises the Congress, the legislative branch of government. The job of a senator is to act on behalf of citizens in her or his state in law-making sessions to ensure the common citizen is heard. Senators serve 6 years terms, with no term limits, and are expected to fight for legislation that is in the best interest of their state and citizens. In short, our 2 Senators are our sales reps in Washington.
US HOUSE REPRESENTATIVE.
We elect one for Congressional District 27. There are 435 House Representatives (also called congresswomen and men), who proportionally represent the population of 50 states. They are elected to 2-year terms; no term limits. Florida is represented by 27 of congressmen and women. House members are expected to initiate bills that can be approved and sent to the Senate for approval. Then they are sent to the President for consideration.
On the state level, we are electing a Governor, the Commissioner of Agriculture, the Attorney General and the Chief Financial Officer. We also elect our State House Representative and State Senator.
As the chief executive of Florida, he/she serves as chairman of the cabinet. One could equate that to being the CEO of Florida; the person who shapes the “mission statement.” The governor’s responsibilities and duties are similar to the president’s, but on the state level. Together with the cabinet, the governor executes the strategy for the state’s development -- politically, culturally, environmentally and economically.
Consider the Attorney General the “peoples’ lawyer.” Citizens have many reasons to pay careful attention so all know who protects and defends them. The AG’s office prosecutes violations of antitrust laws, coordinates business licensing and is where you apply for a concealed weapons license.
The AG also heads up the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, consisting of 13 divisions and 5 offices overseeing the state’s agriculture and consumer services industries -- everything from regulating forests and water systems, to handling emergency preparedness, to granting permits for carrying concealed weapons.
The AG’s office also oversees licensing of businesses such as auto repair shops, pawn shops, telemarketers, fitness studios and professional surveyors.
CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER.
This position was created in 2002 following the reforms of the Florida cabinet in 1998. Not surprisingly the CFO heads the Florida Department of Financial Services and is responsible for overseeing the state's finances, collecting revenue, paying state bills and auditing state agencies.
The department also handles insurance licensing and fraud investigation, funeral parlor and cemetery licensing, and public assistance fraud investigation. The CFO also acts as state fire marshal, which certifies firefighters, sets training standards and investigations potential arson.
Together, the Florida State House and Senate form the Florida Legislature.
STATE HOUSE REPRESENTATIVE.
We elect one for State House District D-112. Each of the 120 members represents an average of 156,678 residents. They are elected to 2-year terms, limited to no more than 4 consecutive terms. These locally focused representatives are charged to address the specific interests of voters in their district.
We elect one for State Senate District D-37. Approximately 470,033 residents are represented by each of the 40 Florida Senators. Elected to 4-year terms with 8-year term limits the Senate, in conjunction with the State House creates and amends the laws of the State. It can be a lengthy and often arduous process: Successful state legislation must be reviewed by committee, undergo floor readings in each house, and then be signed into law by the Governor or enacted through a veto override approved by two-thirds of the membership of each legislative house.