In a flurry of political activity, several no-party-affiliated candidates filed in South Florida House and Senate seats over the long weekend.
Each candidate is associated with a group pushing to reform the Department of Children and Families and the state’s family court system.
Mercedes Cristian, the founder of Fundación Lideres de Paz, an organization that aims to help domestic and child abuse victims, filed for the District 35 Senate seat currently held by state Sen. Gwen Margolis on Sept. 3, with Sheila Y. Lucas George filing for state Sen. Dwight Bullard’s District 39 seat the same day.
Also on Sept. 3, Susie Lamigueiro filed for the House District 115 seat against Republican state Rep. Michael Bileca; Patricia Mariella Agosto filed in House District 117 against Democratic state Rep. Kionne McGhee.
The filers are part of VoteFamily, which plans to put up candidates in most South Florida House and Senate seats in the 2016 cycle. The group wants changes to the foster care system in the state, which they see as a profitable scheme to pull down federal matching funds.
“DCF prefers to place children in foster homes or give them for adoption than to give them to family members because for every dollar it spends in foster homes, it receives three dollars from the federal government, a 200% return on investment (ROI) on top of monthly payments received for each foster child, and the bonuses received per adoption, all of which amounts to a highly sophisticated form of child trafficking,”
The first wave from the group included Mario Jiminez in Republican state Sen. Anitere Flores’ District 37 seat, as well as Alaina Pasto, who also filed for Bullard’s District 39 seat before her compatriot, Lucas George.
House candidate Arthur Sosa in District 118 is also part of the group, with candidates still expected to file for House districts 100, 108, 109, 112, 113 and 114.
None of the announced candidates posted any contributions since filing to run.