By Jessica Tuggle
TREASURE COAST - As Election Day draws near, two candidates for state senate District 32 are vying for votes.
Political newcomer Ray D'Amiano of Stuart is up against Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart.
Sen. Negron currently represents District 28, encompassing parts of coastal Indian River County, sections of St. Lucie, Okeechobee, Martin and Palm Beach counties.
As a result of the 2010 census, the district lines were redrawn and Sen. Negron and Mr. D'Amiano are running to represent District 32, which includes coastal sections of Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin and Palm Beach counties.
Mr. D'Amiano, a Democrat, has been in the private sector his entire career and currently owns his own business, Interstate Self Storage in Palm City.
"I'm a Democrat and familiar with the local party on the Treasure Coast and Martin County and they wanted someone to run against Joe Negron. They approached me because they wanted people to have a choice, especially in a presidential election year," Mr. D'Amiano said.
"I bring small business knowledge and small business sense," he said.
He said about 90 percent of jobs in Florida are generated by small businesses.
Working in various businesses in a variety of positions - including a limousine driver, country club employee and in a food warehouse - he believes have given him a larger and better perspective.
"I can relate to not only the owners, but also the workers," he said.
The economy is the No. 1 issue because Florida is a tourist and agricultural-based community, Mr. D'Amiano said.
"We need to build up and help these industries," he said.
Mr. D'Amiano said he would work to find middle ground and come to bi-partisan decisions to find solutions to challenging issues, such as immigration, not just waste time with political posturing.
If re-elected, Sen. Negron said there are three issues he wishes to address.
"I want to continue to support the right of the public to speak and be involved in decisions related to government," Sen. Nergon said.
Second, he pledges to continue working toward keeping the state budget under control.
"We need to live within our means just like Florida families," Sen. Negron said.
He would like to see less funding spent in social services and more money budgeted in education.
Economic development is the third area on which he would like to focus attention.
"I don't believe it's our responsibility to create jobs, but we should encourage economic development and growth," Sen. Negron said.
"One of my functions, I believe, is to be cautious and on the alert for potential abuses of government power and protect individual liberties," he said.
Sen. Negron was a proponent of a recent push to require state legislators and other "special class" employees to pay the same for their health insurance as all other state employees, according to a report. The initiative will be used in the senate in the coming fiscal year.