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My Story

My name is Daniel Horton-Diaz, but you know me as Dan. I’m a dedicated public servant with a proven track record of service and commitment to the Florida Keys, South Miami-Dade, and Florida International University.

I have a strong background in politics and government that will allow me to get things done. I was elected as the 2016 Democratic nominee to represent the Florida Keys and South Miami-Dade in the Florida House of Representatives. I’ve also served as a Legislative Aide to State Senator Annette Taddeo in the Florida Senate, the Florida State Director for a voting rights nonprofit organization, and the District Chief of Staff serving our community on behalf of Congresswoman Debbie Mucarsel-Powell in Florida’s 26th Congressional District.

I believe that to best serve a community, a public servant should be a part of that community. I have a passion for service and I’ve served in leadership positions with the FIU College of Law, Leadership Miami Program, and Chapman Partnership for the Homeless. I’ve been recognized for my community service and leadership by the American Law Institute, FIU College of Law faculty, Leadership Miami Program, Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, and Miami-Dade County Board of Commissioners.

More important than any accomplishments and accolades, I care about the people of our community. I know what it’s like to struggle and I use my experience of overcoming adversity as motivation to serve this community. I believe in the willingness and ability of people to unite against life’s most difficult challenges. I’ll always fight for this community and I won’t give up.

I hope that I can count on your vote on August 18. I’m counting on you!


On The Issues

I’ve worked in the Florida Senate and in Congress for Democrats. Let me tell you…our political process is broken. Republicans in Tallahassee have spent a fortune to buy the state legislature and there is an army of corporate lobbyists that have helped them do it. To accomplish anything in Tallahassee, we need to address the rot in the system first.

Ban Lobbyists From Running for Office

Both of my opponents are former long-time lobbyists. They have made a personal fortune trading favors in our state government. We need less lobbyists in Tallahassee, not more. Once elected, I will introduce legislation that will ban lobbyists from running for office for 6 years from their last day as a registered lobbyist. 

Under Florida law, a politician is banned from becoming a lobbyist for 6 years after leaving their elected office. We should do the inverse as well. Lobbyists acquire a lot of power by handing out campaign contributions to get favors from politicians. Now, in this race, my long-time lobbyist opponents are using their money, connections, and influence to buy your vote and springboard themselves into elected office. 

Do you think they’ll stop cutting deals if they get elected? Neither do I. 

Create a District Residency Requirement

Neither of my opponents live in the district. But under current state law, a political candidate doesn’t have to live in the district they’re running for until the day of the election

We can fix that problem by requiring that candidates must have lived in the district for at least 6 months before the day of the election. That’s not too much to ask. I’ll introduce legislation to make that happen.

Oppose the Appointment of Corporate Lobbyists to Public Boards

Another way that corporations, lobbyists, and bought-and-paid-for politicians have distorted our government is through a process called “regulatory capture.” Basically, a powerful corporation will call in favors to have their lobbyists appointed to public boards and agency positions. 

For example, if a company that causes pollution doesn’t want to suffer any consequences from their actions, it’s much cheaper to have their lobbyist put on the board of a regulatory agency than it is to pay the fines and clean up costs for their pollution. Multiply this concept with lots of corporate lobbyists and across numerous public boards and it’s a recipe for disaster. It needs to stop.

Require More Campaign Contribution Transparency

Floridians deserve to know who their politicians are taking money from. Furthermore, that information should be easy to find. 

Currently, the state makes it REALLY difficult to track down which lobbyists, corporations, and individuals are giving money to which politicians. Even more complicated, politicians can set up separate PACs that can receive UNLIMITED amounts of money from. Because of the Supreme Court’s opinion known as “Citizens United,” it’s unlikely that we can ban these shady financial tactics.

But sunlight is the best disinfectant. I will introduce legislation to require a link to campaign contributions to appear directly on the official page for each state legislator. This way, if you want to see where our politicians are getting money from, all you have to do is check their official website.

Strengthen Public Records and Open Meetings Laws

Florida has some of the strongest public records laws in the country. But too often, government officials and employees delay public records requests, purposely misinterpret them, or ignore them entirely. Government records belong to the people of Florida and we need to strengthen those laws so that government employees and officials understand that they work for us.

Create an Independent Redistricting Committee

Republicans have gerrymandered our state legislative districts and are hoping to do so again after the 2020 census. To stop them, we need to do two things: (1) win this election, and (2) pass legislation to create an independent redistricting commission. This body would be composed of non-politicians and would allow the people of Florida to have fairly-drawn legislative districts for the first time in decades.

Reinforce the Citizens’ Initiative Process for Amending the State Constitution

For years, the only way Floridians have been able to enact progressive change has been through the Citizen Initiative Process. That process has led to the passage of Florida Forever for environmental preservation, Polluters Pay to hold polluters accountable for destroying our natural resources, and Amendment 4 which restored the right to vote to millions of Floridians. However, Republicans have worked to undermine these amendments in the state legislature and passed laws to make the process more difficult for citizens to use.

I will work to empower Floridians by introducing legislation to remove these limitations on the Citizen Initiative Process. When our politicians refuse to enact the will of the people, then the people deserve the right to enact their will themselves.

Water is life. Our economy depends on it, our health depends on it, and future generations depend on it. But water is under attack in our state government. Big corporations want to privatize it, lobbyists are lined up to convince corrupt politicians to give it away, and too many of our elected officials are happy to sign it over in exchange for a few campaign contributions.

As your State Senator, I will always fight to protect our water, environment, and natural resources. This is how I plan to do it.

Combat the Climate Crisis

Climate change is a crisis for humanity and our community is ground zero. We need to take bold action at every level of government to begin the long process of protecting our communities from rising seas and our drinking water from saltwater intrusion. We need to fund and streamline the approval process for mitigation efforts that will protect our roadways, buildings, and homes.

Restore the flow of Lake Okeechobee through the Everglades and into Florida Bay

Our community depends on the health of Florida Bay and the health of Florida Bay depends on freshwater flow through the Everglades. I support restoring the flow of Lake Okeechobee through the Everglades and into Florida Bay. That is the only way to ensure the health of Florida Bay and to preserve our local environment and natural resources.

Statewide Fracking Ban on Both Land and Water

I support a complete ban on fracking. Fracking is destructive to our environment and endangers our natural resources. It has no place in Florida.

Hold Major Polluters Accountable

This one’s pretty simple. If you pollute, you should have to clean it up or cover the costs associated with doing so.

Promote Solar Energy and Other Forms of Alternative Energy

Florida is the sunshine state and one of the top solar energy markets in the country. However, solar energy expansion has been crippled by the energy companies and corporate entities that control our state government. As State Senator, I will work to expand access and utilization of solar energy and other forms of alternative energy.

Make Human Health a Priority

The health of Floridians must be the top priority. Water management plans should be written to incorporate human health, ecology, and the environment as an operational priority — equal with existing operational priorities of flood control, navigation, water supply, and enhancement of fish, wildlife and recreation.

Create Clearly Enforceable Pollution Standards and Penalties for Industries and Property Owners.

Sometimes, the problem with enforcement is that it is unclear what needs to be enforced and how it should be enforced. There should be no room for ambiguity. We need clear standards so that there is no excuse for pollution.

Fully Fund Pollution Monitoring and Enforcement

If we want to protect our water, we have to be willing to fully fund pollution monitoring and enforcement. The state has failed to sufficiently fund testing, standardization, staffing, and consequential goals for pollution monitoring and enforcement. Predictably, this has resulted in negligible state progress on water quality. As State Senator, I will support funding that will be specifically designated for use in monitoring and enforcement, establishing unified standards, and pursuing accountability in reporting.

Require the Installation of Cooling Towers at the Turkey Point Nuclear Facility

FPL has been dodging this improvement for a long time and our community has suffered the consequences. The cooling canals at Turkey Point have created a salt plume in our freshwater aquifer, which endangers the drinking water for everyone in this community. As State Senator, I will use all of my power to force FPL to install cooling towers to replace the outdated, inefficient, and dangerous cooling canals.

Protect Our Trees and Natural Habitat

Trees provide so many benefits that are often overlooked. They provide clean air, promote health and happiness, counteract climate change, conserve energy, filter water, and serve as habitat for wildlife. Furthermore, many trees have historical significance to the local communities that treasure them. Tallahassee is trying to take away local governments’ ability to maintain and control their local trees. It’s another unnecessary use of preemption and it threatens to destroy historic districts across the state. I will oppose this state government overreach and support the ability of local governments and historic districts to protect their trees at the local level. 

Floridians should be able to live their lives and feel safe in their communities. But for too many people, that isn’t the case. I believe that state government can have a profound impact on making our communities safer while also ensuring safety and equality for our citizens.

Increase Access and Funding for Affordable Housing

Access to affordable housing is a social justice issue. Our community has some of the highest housing costs in Florida and too many of our friends and neighbors struggle to pay their rent while also putting food on the table. We need to increase funding for affordable housing and look for creative ways to provide housing to members of our community. We have a fund called the Sadowski Fund that is supposed to be used to fund more affordable housing, but Republicans have been using the funds for other purposes for years. As State Senator, I will support full funding for the Sadowski Fund and I will push for legislation that will ensure more of our community members have access to affordable housing.

End the School to Prison Pipeline

Many students that are pushed out of school by exclusionary discipline policies end up being pulled into the criminal justice system. This has a disproportionate effect on minority groups, as Florida’s black students are 2.5 times more likely to be removed from classrooms as their white peers. I believe that our schools, and the policies that guide them, should encourage administrators to avoid taking disciplinary actions that often lead to students being designated as “bad kids,” with disciplinary records that may follow them through the criminal justice system.

Expand Community Policing Programs and Funding

Many communities have established community policing programs that serve as partnerships between local police departments, local governments, and community leaders. I believe that this type of coordinated effort is the ideal approach to increase safety in our communities. As State Senator, I will look to expand existing programs and provide funding for new programs that seek to serve communities through local partnerships and community-focused policing strategies.

Require Police Body Cameras

I believe that police body cameras protect both citizens and police officers. Officers that deal with the public should wear body cameras and keep them activated at all times. As State Senator, I will support legislation to require police body cameras at the state and local level.

Demilitarize State, Local, and University Police Departments

Our police departments are becoming too militarized. We need to begin the process of reducing police militarization so that we can move to a more community-focused policing model. I support a ban on the use of tear gas on civilians. I also support prohibiting state and local police from purchasing military equipment.

Hold Prosecutors Accountable for Cheating the Legal System

Prosecutors–also known as State Attorneys–wield a tremendous amount of power. When they break the law in order to unfairly prosecute people that may be innocent, there need to be consequences. As State Senator, I will support legislation that explicitly provides criminal consequences for prosecutors that commit blatant ethical violations related to the jury selection and discovery process.

It’s well past time for our state legislature to take real action to abolish hatred and white supremacy. Here are a couple good places to start:

Remove Confederate Monuments and Symbols From Public Spaces 

The confederate flag is the flag of traitors and statues of confederate figures are memorials of hate, violence, and oppression. They have no place in our modern society, and as State Senator, I will introduce legislation to remove these vestiges of hate from the public spaces that belong to the people of Florida. 

Stop Recognizing Confederate Memorial Dates

Florida currently recognizes state holidays that celebrate a history of discrimination and hatred. I will introduce legislation to erase “Confederate Memorial Day” and the birthdays of Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis from the list of legal holidays.

I will always fight for equality. Ensuring that LGBTQ members of our community have equality under the law is one of my top priorities. I am proud to support thi

Pass Workplace Protections for Members of the LGBTQ Community

I support bipartisan legislation to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression in housing, employment, and public accommodations. I will proudly co-sponsor legislation to see these protections put in place at the state level.

Support Marriage Equality

The LGBTQ+ community has fought for the equal right to marry who they love. I will oppose any attempts to overturn state or federal court rulings that ensure the freedom to marry for same-sex couples.

Adoption Rights

Gay or lesbian individuals and couples should be able to adopt or foster children without being discriminated against by our government. I will oppose any attempt to reinstate hateful bans that prevented LGBTQ+ individuals or couples from adopting. I will oppose any legislation that allows organizations to refuse adoption service to these families based on the organization’s beliefs. I will also support

Remove Discriminatory Language From the State Constitution

Under the Florida Constitution, marriage is defined as being between a man and a woman. This language was put in place to discriminate against members of the LGBTQ+ community. As State Senator, I will sponsor a joint resolution that can start the process of removing that language from the constitution through the ballot amendment process.

Statewide Ban on Conversion Therapy

All the science shows that conversion therapy doesn’t work and caused lasting damage on the individuals, usually minors, that are forced to go through it. I strongly oppose conversion therapy and I will support a statewide ban on the practice.

Remove Funding for Private Schools That Discriminate

No private school that has anti-LGBTQ+ views or policies should receive state-funded scholarships. Some private schools have discriminated against current or prospective LGBTQ+ youth or parents while still relying on state funds to covers many of their costs. That’s unacceptable and I will fight against this practice in the State Senate.

Let’s just go ahead and get this out of the way first: I am not a socialist or a communist. I believe that capitalism can work, but “winner takes all” capitalism is destined to fail. People deserve to be rewarded for their hard work, but it is a mistake to prioritize shareholder profits over the needs, safety, and health of workers. Investing in workers is an investment in local communities. Promoting fairness and equality through wages, benefits, and workplace protection are values that I will always support.

Fix Florida’s Broken Unemployment Assistance System

What an absolute mess. As covid-19 accelerated, millions of Floridians discovered that the state unemployment assistance system is a complete disaster. It was designed that way by Republican politicians that don’t want anyone to access the assistance that they need and deserve. As your State Senator, fixing this broken system will be one of my top priorities. Not only do we need to fix the system, we have to ensure that these failures never happen again.

Raise the Minimum Wage Through Phased Annual Increases

I fully support the constitutional amendment that will raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour over the next few years. No one should work 40 hours per week, yet still live in poverty because the minimum wage is too low. It is well past time for this to happen and I look forward to this amendment passing in November.

Stimulate Local Economies by Providing More Resources and Funding for Small Businesses

Big business runs your state government. They make sure that there are plenty of tax breaks in the budget and that pro-business legislation makes its way quickly through the legislature. What we need are more incentives and support for small business owners throughout our state. Giving support to local businesses has been proven to increase the circulation of capital in local communities. Our local economies depend on the health of small businesses and you can count on me to support them always.

Support Labor Unions

Labor unions and their members have been responsible for almost every workplace benefit that we have today. If you enjoy not having to work more than 40 hours a week, having weekends off, being paid a fair wage, not having to work as a child, or knowing that your employer can’t endanger your safety….then you should thank the labor movement and their decades long fight for workplace rights. However, labor unions are under siege in our state capitol and Republicans have been slowly chipping away at their influence and rights for years. I’ll fight for the rights of labor unions and their members in Tallahassee as your State Senator.

I was raised by a teacher. My mom has been a teacher for longer than I have been alive! Teachers serve one of the most important roles in our society and our government policies should reflect that

Prioritize Public Schools

The charter school industry has corrupted our state government’s role in ensuring access to a quality public education. There is a place for private schools in our communities. But when these private schools are run by corporate raiders that pilfer our state budget for money that should be going to our public schools, that’s a problem. I will always fight to ensure our youth have access to a quality public school education.

Raise Teacher Salaries

Teacher salaries are too low. Our teachers deserve to be paid well for the service they provide to our communities. I will always support paying our teachers more so that their pay reflects their leadership in our schools.

Provide Funding to Give Teachers and Students the Resources They Need to Succeed

I remember going to the dollar store with my mom and she would spend some of the little money we had buying classroom supplies for her students. This happens constantly across our state as teachers are forced to spend their own money to make sure their students have the classroom supplies that they need. This shouldn’t happen and I’ll work to fix it.

Get Guns Out of the Classroom

In 2018, the Florida legislature passed a bill that allowed some teachers and school staff to carry concealed weapons in our public schools. There should never be guns in a classroom and I will seek to repeal these provisions of state law.

Increase Flexibility and Accommodations for Students with Special Needs

The current pandemic has exposed a number of weaknesses in our education system. One of these flaws is the fact that students with special needs may have additional obstacles to overcome when their normal routine is interrupted. Not having in-person access to counselors, teachers, and friends can be a severe stress on these students. And when students are severely stressed, their grades are likely to suffer. I support giving schools more flexibility in grading and making accommodations for students with special needs.

Women’s rights to reproductive self-determination and the right to privacy are core freedoms that must be protected. Those rights are under constant attack in our state government. As State Senator, I will fight for women’s constitutional rights.

Protect Patient Autonomy 

Women have the right to make their own decisions regarding matters that affect their individual health and reproductive decision-making. That includes choosing types of contraception used and whether or not to continue a pregnancy as defined by existing constitutional law. 

Support Access to Family Planning and Reproductive Health Education

Few things are as important as education. We must ensure that women continue to have access to comprehensive, evidence-based family planning and reproductive health education and medically accepted forms of contraception.

Oppose Unconstitutional Restrictions on Access to Care

I will oppose legislation that would prevent unfettered access to comprehensive reproductive health care by imposing medically unnecessary restrictions on health care professionals or facilities.

Gun violence takes many forms. Mass shootings, community violence, suicide deaths, and domestic violence are all tragic instances of the failures of our government to reduce gun violence. But there are steps we can take to reduce gun violence and make our communities safer and stronger.

Require Universal Background Checks

Federal background check laws do not apply to purchases from unlicensed sellers and Florida does not require a background check for the sale of a firearm between private parties. I support expanding the background check requirements to prevent guns from getting into the hands of people that aren’t allowed to have them.

Fortify Red Flag Laws

Florida’s current red flag laws enable law enforcement to remove guns from people that are deemed a threat to themselves or others. This often takes place in instances of domestic violence. I support these laws and I will protect them in Tallahassee.

Increase Access to Suicide Prevention Programs

Senate District 39 has a tragically high rate of suicide and I will work with local officials and organizational leaders to address this through state legislation. We can expand and reinforce suicide prevention resources to help individuals through difficult times. If you are having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255.

Repeal “Stand Your Ground” Laws

Let’s make this clear: repealing “stand your ground” laws does not take away your right to defend yourself. There is evidence that these laws do not deter crime, but instead encourage impulsive and illegitimate uses of deadly force. I will seek to repeal these laws.

Provide Funding for Community Violence Prevention Programs

There are some incredible gun violence prevention advocates in this community. I believe that the state government should work to make resources available to local community leaders in the fight to prevent community gun violence. There are many programs that deserve to be supported, such as gun buy-back programs, community engagement, and gun violence awareness efforts. You can count on me to support these initiatives.

In The Community

Recent Articles

Voting By Mail is Social Distancing for Elections

It’s a couple weeks before election day. Some sectors of the economy have cautiously reopened and early voting has begun. “Joe Voter” isn’t a consistent voter, but he’s been paying more attention to national politics and he knows that he needs to vote this year. He drops by his local early voting site — wearing a protective face mask, of course — on his way to work.

Daniel Horton-Diaz joins Democratic primary in SD 39

Horton-Diaz will challenge Rep. Javier Fernández for the Democratic nomination. Horton-Diaz previously filed for the SD 39 seat in 2016 but eventually swapped to run for the Florida House, where he was defeated.

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