State Rep. Tina Polsky’s District 29 state senate primary race against Irv Slosberg is heating up. Voters will see more TV ads, campaign signs and mailers closer to the Aug. 18 primary and Aug. 3 start of early voting when Democrats will choose between the two.
Q: What made you take such a strong position on gun safety and what made you do that? Parkland?
A: I ran for my current seat before the Parkland tragedy. I was motivated in large part by the failure of our federal government to enact any common-sense gun legislation, even after the horror of Sandy Hook. Then Parkland happened and our entire community rose up to take action. I do know many families affected and unfortunately have gotten to know more in our pursuit for reform. I am a proud founding member of the Boca Moms Demand Action Chapter and I am an endorsed Gun Sense Candidate. I have a strong personal relationship and have been endorsed by Fred Guttenberg, Max Schachter and other activists in the Parkland community.
Q: Why are you running for the state senate instead of retaining your house seat?
A: I have been a state representative for the past two years and it has been the honor of my lifetime. When the chance arose to run in an open senate seat, I thought this would be the opportunity to have my voice heard more clearly in the 40-person chamber where there is more bi-partisan cooperation, each vote matters more and we are closer to parity. I believe I can be even more effective in this role.
Q: What are you most proud of that you sponsored in that House that passed?
A: I am most proud of finally getting teacher pay raises across the finish line. The very first bill I ever proposed as an elected official was to raise teacher pay. There is still work to be done for next year – veteran teachers must receive similar raises.
Q: Talk about endorsements from elected officials on your web site https://www.tinapolskyforsenate.com/ and why you think they’re still important.
A: These are the colleagues you work with every day. They have seen my work ethic and my values and know I am the best choice for the senate seat. There are also endorsements from advocacy groups such as the labor unions, the teachers, Planned Parenthood, National Organization of Women, PBC Human Rights Council, physicians, etc. who have examined my record and believe I represent their best interests in Tallahassee.
Q: I see part of your platform is climate change. What specific issues are you following and what will you do?
A: We need to agree that climate change is real and must be dealt with in a scientific manner. Florida must regulate its own industries, as the EPA under the current administration is not protecting the environment. I would like to see the state put a stronger emphasis on alternative energy, less plastic use, and hybrid cars. We are facing the potential flooding of our coastal communities in a matter of decades. We must put the full force of knowledge and funding into the issue of sea-level rise.
Q: Talk about your role in lobbying for the FAU testing site in Boca and the mask order.
A: It took quite a while to get testing to our county in the first place and then it was located in West Palm Beach. I fought for testing closer to our district. I also called for mandatory masks by both the county and the state.
Q: How are your roles as an attorney and mediator important for this position?
A: I practiced law in New York and became a mediator when I moved to Florida. I own North Castle Mediation and mediate all kinds of commercial litigation cases… I also have a practice called Elder Care Mediations with a partner where we help families resolve their disputes. My experience as a mediator allows me to work across the aisle and even within my own caucus to help negotiate and get us to resolution.
Q: What do you want to say about your personal life?
A: I have the most wonderful husband of 24 years, Jeff. We met in Israel even though I was in New York and he was in New Jersey. It was beshert (meant to be). We have two beautiful children who are 19 and 16 and two adorable but huge adopted puppies.
By Marci Shatzman