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Former Doral city official to run for Ros-Lehtinen’s seat as a Republican

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@alextdaugherty @patriciamazzei

The race to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen keeps getting bigger.

Former Doral Councilwoman Bettina Rodriguez Aguilera will run as a Republican for Ros-Lehtinen’s Miami-based seat in 2018, she told Miami Herald.

“When I saw that she was not going to be running again, I thought that was interesting, and I had several people from the community call me and ask me to consider running,” Rodriguez Aguilera said. “I have been involved in community activism, human rights, economic development and international affairs all my life, and I feel that this is a good fit for me.”

Rodriguez Aguilera, 59, works as an entrepreneur and teaches at Miami Dade College. She was a Doral councilwoman from 2012-2014 and served as the city’s first economic developer.
Rodriguez Aguilera said the most important attribute she will bring to Washington is that she is someone who “can listen and cut red tape.”
“Bureaucracy is needed but not to the point that they stall businesses,” she said.

Rodriguez Aguilera avoided the word “moderate” when describing her political leanings, describing herself instead as a “common-sense Republican.”

She said she voted for Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential election. That puts her at odds with one of the two announced Republican candidates: Raquel Regalado, the former school board member and Miami-Dade County mayoral candidate, who did not support Trump.

The other announced Republican candidate, Miami-Dade Commissioner Bruno Barreiro, voted for Trump.

“What he did on the Cuba situation with Obama rolling it back was laudable,” Rodriguez Aguilera said. “With my father being a Cuban political prisoner, we needed to get some pride back.”

She also supports the president’s sanctions and tough talk on Venezuela.

“I think that no one is perfect but I think that the president in general has done a good job, though I don’t agree with every single thing he’s done,” Rodriguez Aguilera said.

National Democrats see an opportunity to flip Ros-Lehtinen’s district, which includes most of Miami and Miami Beach. The district voted for Hillary Clinton by nearly 20 percentage points over Trump, making it the most Democratic-leaning district in the country currently held by a Republican in Congress.

Read more here.