Former prosecutor Jason Pizzo is joining the crowded Florida State Senate race to represent Northeast Miami-Dade.
The six-person race among all Democrats includes Sen. Gwen Margolis, Florida Rep. Daphne Campbell and former Rep. Phillip Brutus. The newly configured district include coastal cities such as Aventura and North Miami Beach, as well as predominately black neighborhoods such as Liberty City and Overtown.
Pizzo, 40, spent more than four years as a prosecutor, leaving in November to go into private practice.
During his last 10 months at the state, Pizzo said, he helped lead a pilot project that embedded prosecutors and community-support staff with police in Northeast Miami-Dade neighborhoods hardest hit by gun violence.
The efforts resulted in more arrests in shooting cases, convictions at trial and even the targeting of slum lords and shoddy housing conditions, he said.
To begin his campaign, Pizzo lent himself $200,000. "I can speak my mind," Pizzo said. "I don't need to go ask for money. I'm not beholden to any lobbyists or special interest or old guard crusty bureaucratic B.S. If there is something to do, I'm going to make sure it gets done."
Pizzo, a graduate of New York University, Columbia University and the University of Miami's law school, is married with 10-year-old twin boys.