Republican rivals disagree on key issues in Miami Senate forum

Two of three Republicans running for a competitive Miami-Dade state Senate district found plenty to disagree on at a forum Monday, despite their shared political party affiliation.

State Rep. Jose Felix Diaz and attorney Lorenzo Palomares told about 100 people gathered at Miami Dade College Kendall Campus where they stand on key issues. Primary candidates tend to have few differences — but not in this case.

On recently passed education legislation known as House Bill 7069: Diaz supports it, Palomares doesn’t. On a legislative deal to implement medical-marijuana rules: Diaz supports it, Palomares doesn’t. On the future of transit in Miami-Dade County: Diaz envisions autonomous vehicles, Palomares wants to expand the Dolphin Expressway past the western edge of the Urban Development Boundary.

Both candidates expressed support for gun rights — but Diaz said Florida needs to increase funding for mental-health issues. Palomares, a self-described gun collector, didn’t see it that way.

“I support the Second Amendment; I will expand it if I can,” he said. “I don’t believe mental health is an issue.”

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