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New Surfside commissioner taking on Rep. Joe Gibbons

Updated with comments from Gibbons:

Today we caught up with Democrat Sheldon Lisbon, elected to the Surfside City Commission in March who recently announced he is challenging state Rep. Joe Gibbons (D-Hallandale Beach) in District 100.

Gibbons, first elected in 2006 and a former city commissioner, has the advantage of incumbency, name recognition and $24,800 raised while Lisbon is jumping in with less than three months before the primary. But Gibbons may not be as well-known in Miami-Dade as he is in Broward and the newly drawn district is now 57-43 Miami-Dade/Broward.

Gibbons says those numbers aren't a major challenge. He said the district includes about one-quarter of his former legislative district and much of Hallandale Beach, the city where he was elected as a commissioner at-large. Gibbons said he has longer roots in the community than his opponent -- Gibbons has lived in Florida  since 1994, the bulk of that time in Broward, and has been involved with community organizations including as a board member of the Holocaust Documentation and Education Center in Hollywood.

Lisbon said there was a mistake on his press release -- he has lived in Surfside since 2006, not 1996.

But we were more interested in why Lisbon wanted to take on a fellow Democrat to toil in a Republican-dominated state Legislature. Lisbon said he had no specific criticisms of Gibbons in terms of the issues or votes.

Lisbon described himself as a "moderate Lieberman type Democrat" -- a reference to the Democrat turned independent Connecticut U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman. And he described himself as someone who can compromise with the other side.

Lisbon is a longtime teacher who currently teaches government and history at Jewish schools in North Miami Beach.

"Florida is 50th out of 50th behind Alabama as far as the level of education we are giving our children," he said.

Education rankings can be tricky -- the state's ranking depends on the year of data being cited and the criteria. Here's a fact-check from PolitiFact about a similar claim made by Bud Chiles but note that was in 2010 so more recent educational rankings might be available.

 

 

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