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Facing South Florida: Race For Miami-Dade's District 5 Seat

MIAMI (CBS4) - Appearing Sunday on CBS4's Facing South Florida, the candidates for Miami Dade County Commission District 5 argued over who was the career politician and who has succeeded in serving the community.

"The issues with mass transportation and public transportation; the golden passport.   I think that's the single most important (thing)," State Rep. Luis Garcia told host Jim DeFede.

"If the commissioner thinks we have an adequate form of transportation in Dade County he must be living in Disney World," County Commissioner Bruno Barreiro countered.

Garcia is seeking to unseat Barreiro, who has served on the county commission since 1998.

Barreiro said he deserves a fourth term to continue the work he has started.

"A lot has to be done, we have to continue to expand our mass transportation system to all four corners of the county, especially the convention center," Barreiro said.

But Garcia maintained it is exactly because Barreiro has been on the commission so long without any major accomplishments to his credit that he should be removed.

"He has been there too long, his performance, you know, giving away taxpayer's money doesn't earn him to be a commissioner for life," said Garcia.

The role of billionaire Norman Braman, who is supporting a slate of candidates including Garcia, was also a point of contention for the two candidates. Barreiro said Garcia will be controlled by Braman.

"You got a question, a big question, when you are being funded substantially by Mr. Braman's PACs," Barreiro said.

Garcia denied he would be a Braman puppet.

"Actually, what Norman Braman is doing is leveling out the playing field," Garcia said.

Florida's Primary Election is August 14. District 5 stretches from Miami Beach to Miami and includes the Port of Miami and the area around Marlins Ballpark.


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