7News election profile on house race
MIAMI (WSVN) -- 7News is focusing on the candidates and their platforms ahead of next month's election.
Tonight, 7's Blake Burman covers a heated house race in South Florida.
It is David Rivera - Joe Garcia, Round 2. 2010's most heated congressional race returns, and hasn't cooled down much.
"I am running against the most corrupt congressional candidate in America," Rivera said.
"We need a congressman people aren't embarrassed about," Garcia said.
First, though, their resumes:
Garcia is the democrat and the challenger. He has worked in the U.S. Department of Energy and, before that, the state's agency that regulates utilities.
Rivera is the republican, elected to Congress after he soundly defeated Garcia the last go around. According to published reports, the first-term congressman is the center of an FBI investigation. The allegations: Rivera ran a secret campaign against Garcia. The connection is this man: Justin Sternad, who ran against Garcia in the primary. The reports claim Rivera funneled money to Sternad, a democrat.
When we sat down Rivera, he repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. "I don't know him, never met him, never spoken to him, have nothing to do with his campaign, and I categorically deny all of the allegations that were published through recent reports, through anonymous sources."
"If you are spending most of your time defending yourself or avoiding prosecution," Garcia said, "I think you are not doing what people should be doing, which is working on the issues in the community."
And it is Rivera who contends Garcia is "corrupt," linking Garcia's days at the Energy Department to the now defunct Solyndra. As for the issues, both seemingly take their party's stance on Medicare, Social Security and abortion.
They disagree on the president's handling of Cuba. Garcia said, "I think he's done well. Look, he's increased travel. He's increased aid to the opposition, and he's increased the ability of people to help their families in Cuba."
Rivera said, "We've seen more oppression, more of a clamp-down on dissidents on the island as a result of Obama's policy."
Garcia knows what he wants to change if elected. "Florida is a net payer and not a beneficiary in terms of tax dollars. That's because we don't have representatives fighting for it."
Meanwhile, Rivera hails what he has voted for. "We were able to pass the Colombian Free Trade Agreement. That agreement means thousands and thousands of jobs for our community."
Rivera also sits on the Foreign Affairs Committee in Congress. Garcia was the founder of the Cuban American National Foundation (CANF).
(Copyright 2012 by Sunbeam Television Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)