Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, a Republican candidate for State Senate in District 36, describes himself as a family man, a conservative leader and “the real Republican.”
He’s running on the platform of creating jobs, lowering taxes, cutting wasteful government spending, improving education and protecting individual freedoms.
“I was a Ronald Reagan Republican even before it was popular. I was a part of the 1976 Reagan campaign when I was 13 years old and it was at that time that I fell in love with the idea of being a public servant,” Diaz de la Portilla said.
“I also supported Reagan in his 1980 campaign when I was 17 and this was when I understood the core principles of being a Republican. Reagan was a rugged individualist and had the attitude that government ‘should get out of my way.’ He felt strongly that we should depend on the talent and hard work of individuals for success. That’s my core message and my inspiration for running.”
In his grass roots campaign for the Senate seat, Diaz de la Portilla said that his constituents have told him that they are concerned about the future and the state of the economy.
“Florida’s families are suffering during these difficult economic times, so it will be my priority to get people back to work. Big government is not the answer. The investment of small businesses, the ingenuity of entrepreneurs and the creativity of individuals are the engines that will drive Florida’s economy,” Diaz de la Portilla said. “I will advocate for even more incentives for businesses to relocate to Florida and current businesses to stay in our state.”
He also intends to lower taxes and reduce the burden currently placed on American workers.
“Government takes too much money out people’s pockets, leaving them with little money to spend and pump back into the private sector,” Diaz de la Portilla said.
Another priority will be to cut waste in government spending and reduce government intervention, regulations and bureaucracy in order to create an environment for businesses to thrive.
“The economy is shrinking and yet government is the fastest growing sector of employment. The Miami-Dade County budget has grown from $4 billion to $7 billion during the past 10 years,” Diaz de la Portilla said. “During these tough economic times, government must cut its spending and become more efficient.” According to Diaz de la Portilla, his parents put a great emphasis on education when he was growing up. He plans to make education a top priority.
“The public school system is not perfect and it can be improved. We are educating our future citizens, future workforce and future parents. Education takes up 31.8 percent of the state’s $71 billion budget, so it’s important to spend wisely,” he said. “In a company, you reward employees based on performance. I believe we should reward teachers who produce results and go above and beyond.”
He continued, “College courses, vocational training, career academies and practical training along with the theoretical training should be offered in high school. The arts and technology training also need to be a priority.”
Diaz de la Portilla says that he is committed “to the conservative principles of smaller government, and being closer to the people. That was my legacy as a county commissioner and that will be my legacy as a senator,” he said.
As a Miami-Dade County Commissioner from 1993 to 2000, Diaz de la Portilla created the Office of the Inspector General, founded the Miami-Dade County Expressway Authority, created Community Zoning Adjustment Boards and transformed the land use and zoning process in Miami-Dade County.
“I had a 90 percent success rate of gaining consensus and getting approval on important issues,” he said.
Born and raised in Miami-Dade, Diaz de la Portilla comes from four generations of public service in Cuba and the United States. He and his wife, Mari, have been married for 23 years and they are proud parents of three children — Michael, Jon and Mary.
After graduating Belen Jesuit Preparatory school, Diaz de la Portilla attended the University of Miami earning his BA, cum laude, and majoring in Philosophy and English Literature. He graduated from the University of Miami School of Law in 1987. He has practiced law in the City of Miami and Coral Gables for 23 years and is recognized by Martindale Hubbell as an AV rated, preeminent attorney.
“I’m not a professional politician. I am a product of my experience,” Diaz de la Portilla said. “I’ve practiced law in the private sector and I’ve served on the Board of County Commissioners. I understand government and I understand the private sector. I truly have a balanced perspective.”