“The moment that we place people above politics we will be able to achieve more of our goals as a nation.
– Bettina Rodriguez Aguilera
For over 40 years Bettina has served the people of South Florida as a community advocate, business owner, and elected official with a record of developing solutions to our region’s most pressing issues. Bettina is focused on putting people above politics, providing results instead of partisan bickering, and doing what she has done her entire career, rolling up her sleeves and getting things done.
While our economy continues to strengthen and opportunities expand, too many South Florida families remain concerned about finding quality jobs. My main focus is to ensure South Florida has a strong climate for job growth and economic development.
Small businesses are the backbone of economic freedom. Most American jobs are created by small businesses. Hard working entrepreneurs deserve our nation’s support and we should ensure they have the information and resources to strive in the modern economy. As a pioneer in the business incubator movement, I have witnessed the tenacity and innovation that characterize entrepreneurs. By supporting small businesses we help create permanent jobs in our economy.
As the first economic developer of the city of Doral, I was able to position the city as the #1 in start-up businesses and economic growth in the state of Florida. I will continue to utilize my expertise and proven track record for all South Florida.
My top priority will be to help strengthen economic growth and work to expand employment opportunities in our region. I will advocate for job training to ensure American workers have the skills to compete for today’s jobs.
To address access to capital, which is one of the major hurdles in the growth and expansion of the small business owner, I will propose a new law that will change how credit reporting agencies calculate credit scores. Working with my congressional colleagues, we will set new standards so that those who have suffered hardships, such as a foreclosure during the recent housing crisis, do not continue to be negatively affected if the rest of their financials are in order.
Reducing regulations, fees and taxes
After working for Miami-Dade government as a social worker and later at the County Manager’s office as an ombudsman (community liaison) for over 15 years, I was responsible for cutting red tape and reducing bureaucracy at all levels of government, I know how difficult it can be for individuals to navigate through the maze of government regulations. That is why as Vice-Mayor, I sponsored laws that cut taxes, reduced fees and simplified government communications to better serve taxpayers. Over regulation cripples economic prosperity and excessive fees and taxes are unnecessary and harm our local economy.
As your next Congresswoman, I will strive to support hard working families and businesses by reducing excessive taxes, fees and unnecessary regulations. Government’s role should be to facilitate economic growth and ensure the safety of residents, not impose restrictions which paralyze prosperity.
Traffic & Infrastructure
In order for South Florida to truly be competitive, we need modern infrastructure and transportation. Sadly, traffic is a reality of everyday life in Miami-Dade, it affects us all and diminishes our quality of life. Lack of proper urban planning and connectivity creates stress and affects the economic development of an area. We need a better way for South Florida. I have first-hand experience in addressing traffic solutions and understand what needs to be done to ease the congestion with smart transit solutions.
Among my proposed solutions, I will work to expand public transportation options and improve infrastructure in South Florida, this includes:
-Bringing federal dollars to open roads and establish interconnectivity in heavily congested areas
– An increase in bus services and public transportation to make it more reliable
-Address the airport and seaport connection with rail and establish truck port routes connected to fast rail and transit
– Increase trolley stops, push for integration with entertainment and restaurant areas
– Maximize the use of technology, including synchronization of traffic lights and bridges
– Establish rapid bus service on superhighways and federal roads
-Asses private mini-bus routes
-Light rail, electronic buses
Tolls and traffic are a huge local problem and tops the list of issues concerning residents of congressional district 27. I am committed to reducing the burdens of commuting for South Florida residents.
As the Vice- Mayor of Doral, I navigated through all levels of government and learned all too well the huge disconnect between South Florida residents and the maze of government agencies controlling our roads and tolls, like Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), Miami-Dade Expressway Authority (MDX), Florida Turnpike Enterprise (FTE) and SunPass. The lack of connectivity and the absence of one uniform platform for tolls and SunPass is one of the things that must be addressed. Not only is it an administrative annoyance to us all, but also drives the cost up of public transit operations and ultimately the cost of tolls for the average driver. Florida has 750 tolled roads, more than any other state by 250 toll roads.
The rising cost of tolls can have a crimpling impact on hard working residents. The average family in Miami-Dade has two cars and the average driver is paying $250 a month in tolls. The mean income in congressional district 27 is $35,000 a year, which is roughly translates to $2,900 a month, rendering it very difficult for the average family to pay their tolls. Many local residents are having to make difficult economic choices because of the mounting expenses of tolls, and the repercussions caused by not paying tolls, including having their license revoked.
As your congresswoman I will work with officials from all levels of government to establish a unified system, work towards reducing or eliminating, the number of tolled roads, especially federal roads and establish a system so those that cannot pay their fees can have a payment plan to avoid their licenses from being suspended.
Miami-Dade has a major housing crisis with too few affordable and workforce homes available. The housing crisis only adds to our traffic woes as many South Floridians are forced to move far from their place of employment and suffer through long commutes. Miami ranks among the 10 most expensive U.S. metro areas in housing. I am committed to address South-Florida’s housing crisis and help hard working residents.
Early in my career as a social worker in Miami-Dade County, I helped families struggling with this issue, sadly the housing crisis has gotten worse. The Homeless Trust reports a rise in homelessness and approximately 30% of today’s homeless are families with children. This is not acceptable. Yet, we cannot leave it exclusively in the hands of the government to solve this issue.
The local average rent for a family of four is $1800 a month for an apartment. Many South-Florida residents, who are living paycheck to paycheck, simply can’t afford monthly rent.
As your next congresswoman I will work towards creating a coalition between the public and private sector to address housing concerns. I will push for workforce housing, helping service industry professions like teachers, police, veterans, as well as seniors. We will work with building developers to include affordable and workforce housing projects in high-density areas near our urban core.
To address the plight of those that are living paycheck to paycheck, I will propose an innovative new effort, the development of a hardship rental insurance, similar to the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insurance. This new proposal will not be a new government program rather a private insurance similar to a rental insurance with the regulations similar to the FHA hardship insurance clause. This new insurance could pay up to three months of rent when hardships occurs that prevents an individual from working and meeting their obligations.
Health Care Options
Recognizing that congressional district 27 has more residents registered in Obamacare than any other district in the nation highlights the need of local residents to access affordable healthcare. With premiums going up over 15% or deductibles rising to $3000 or more, immediate attention must be given to revamp the not so Affordable Care Act. Our country is very unique, and each state has distinct needs. There is no way a one size fits all “affordable healthcare” option provided by our government could ever suffice. But the current private health care system is also not working for the forgotten middle class.
We need a better and more affordable health care option to meet individual needs. We need to allow for more competition across state lines and give more power to individual states to decide their own programs including when it comes to Medicare and Medicaid. In addition, we need to better implement technology to help expand competition to allow individuals to determine who may provide the best client centered care at the most affordable cost. Lastly I will explore ways to make healthcare services more affordable and accessible for seniors and those with special needs.