U.S. Senate candidate Carlos Beruff spoke with members of the Pinellas County Hispanic Republican Club this week. And while most of his speech focused on the same topics voters have seen in his campaign ads — his status as a political outsider, his Cuban family’s struggle and eventual attainment of the American dream, and his displeasure with “career politicians.”
Beruff also touched on his work with the numerous state boards and commissions he’s appointed to, specifically highlighting his time with the Southwest Florida Water Management board, to which Gov. Charlie Crist first appointed him in 2009, and was subsequently reappointed by Gov. Rick Scott.
“The water management district used to have 918 employees,” said Beruff, referring to the state of the board before his arrival. “Now we have 564.”
Beruff also said that the district used to cost $112 million a year to operate before he came around, “and we outsourced $80 million,” he said. Now, according to Beruff, it outsources only $1 million and the cost and recurring expenses ring in at just $68 million.
“That’s a $44 million cost savings,” Beruff said.
Despite being part of Florida’s bureaucracy — as Beruff is also a governor-appointed member of the Sarasota-Bradenton Airport Authority, the State College of Florida board, and the leader of Scott’s hospital commission — he still believes “bureaucracies are strangling this country,” and cites this as the main reason for his U.S. Senate bid.
“Professional politicians don’t have a clue how to fix them [bureaucracies]. They don’t even know how to ask the right questions, in my opinion. So, that’s the reason I’m running for the United States Senate.”
Beruff, 58, owns Medallion Home, a company that builds houses throughout Southwest and Central Florida. He says the success he’s had in the business world has also played a big part in his decision to run the U.S. Senate.
“You get to a point in your life where you either keep making more money or — what? It’s not as important as creating a country that can take care of my children and my grandchildren.”
Beruff, whose running for Marco Rubio‘s opening seat, will be up against Reps. Ron DeSantis and David Jolly, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, and businessman Todd Wilcox on the Republican side.
The Democratic side will see Reps. Alan Grayson and Patrick Murphy vie for the Party’s candidacy.