Rep. Bryan Avila, William Sykes begin 2016 campaigns

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The Republican field of state House candidates continues to fill out this week as Hialeah Rep. Bryan Avila and District 54 hopeful William Sykes filed their paperwork and opened campaign accounts ahead of 2016 elections.

Avila, a freshman lawmaker recently coming off a 60-40 November victory over Democrat Mariano Corcilli, is an English professor at Miami-Dade College, where he was once president of the Wolfson campus’ student government. Avila is also vice chair of the Miami-Dade Republican Executive Committee and the county’s state committeeman. Avila replaced term-limited state Rep. Eddie Gonzalez, also of Hialeah.

Sykes is a political newcomer seeking to succeed Vero Beach Rep. Debbie Mayfield, set to term out after four terms representing Indian River-based District 54. The district also includes a small part of St. Lucie County. It is 80 percent white and skews significantly in favor of Republicans.

Per Speaker Steve Crisafulli’s 2014-2016 committee assignments, Avila will serve on the Transportation & Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee as well as four policy committees. Under current term-limit rules, he will be eligible to serve until 2022.

Ryan Ray writes about campaigns and public policy in Tampa Bay and across the state. A contributor to and before that, The Florida Squeeze, he covers the Legislature as a member of the Florida Capitol Press Corps and has worked as a staffer on several campaigns. He can be reached at