A Kendall Campus speech professor is taking aim at a congressional seat after political veteran  Ileana Ros-Lehtinen announced she will not seek re-election in District 27.

Kristen Rosen Gonzalez, who currently serves as a Miami Beach commissioner, believes she can fill Ros-Lehtinen’s sizeable political footprint. Ros-Lehtinen, who has spent more than 35 years as an elected official, is leaving office after her term expires in December of 2018.

“I plan to run a very grassroots campaign where hard work will play a starring role,” said Rosen Gonzalez who is running as a Democrat.

The primary election for District 27 will be held Aug. 28, 2018; the general election is Nov. 6, 2018.

District 27 encompasses parts of Miami Beach, Coral Gables, Pinecrest, Key Biscayne, South Miami, West Miami, Cutler Bay, Palmetto Bay and North Bay Village. Candidates also campaigning for the seat include Miami-Dade County Commissioner Bruno Barreiro, Former Federal Judge Mary Barzee Flores and Member of Florida State Senate Jose Javier Rodriguez.

Rosen Gonzalez’s platform includes seeking more funding for transit, raising minimum wage, starting new educational programs and climate change.

“Climate change, as you can see after these hurricanes, is probably one the biggest issues we face in Miami-Dade County because we could have been Puerto Rico or Houston,”  Rosen Gonzalez said. “We are one step away from these catastrophic happenings.”

Rosen Gonzalez, who studied French and Spanish Literature at Tufts University, has a long history of public service. From 1999 through 2004, she served as a senior editor for an internet based financial media company.

In  2009 to 2010, she worked as a language arts teacher at Miami Central Senior High School, assisting 11th and 12th graders who had failed the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test.

“It was the first time that I really began to see where our social injustices lay and why we were having some of the problems that we’re having. I began to understand inequality better and it taught me that we need to improve our school system,” she said. “We need to improve how we teach, what we teach and we need to be very compassionate for a large, black community here at South Florida that has not had the same opportunities as many other people.”

Her political career started in 2011 when former Kendall Campus President Lourdes Oroza suggested she travel to Tallahassee with MDC’s Legislative Advocacy Committee to lobby against pension cuts.

Despite their efforts, the cuts were made. However, the political advocacy inspired her.

To read the full story by Katherine Wallace-Fernandez of Miami Dade College newspaper, The Reporter, click here.

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