By Ryan Nicol – Florida Politics – July 16, 2018
State Rep. David Richardson kicked off a two-day listening tour in Cuba’s capital today as he continues to campaign in the race for Florida’s 27th Congressional District.
The Richardson campaign says the focus of the Havana tour is “to learn more about economic and societal developments in the wake of changes in U.S. relations with Cuba.”
Richardson currently represents House District 113, which includes Miami-Dade County’s Little Havana. CD 27 also covers Miami Beach and Kendall.
“A half-century of isolation did not achieve progress for the everyday Cuban, so I fully support a position of engagement with Cuban civil society,” said Richardson of his overall vision on U.S. policy toward Cuba.
“Despite President Donald Trump‘s attempts at reversing his predecessor’s progress on foreign policy, I am going to see firsthand how rolling back travel and trade restrictions has changed the lives of the Cuban people, helped private Cuban entrepreneurs, and strengthened the connection between the residents of Little Havana and Havana.”
On Richardson’s schedule is a meeting with film director Rafael Ramos, owner and manager of Café Madrigal, a popular spot among the LGBTQ community. Richardson is one of two first openly gay members of the Florida legislature.
“The two will discuss the status of the LGBTQ community within Cuban society and how it has changed since the opening of relations with the U.S.,” according to Richardson’s campaign.
Richardson is also seeking to meet with Cubans regarding the state of the small business community. He has also scheduled a tour of the Lizt Alfonso Academy, a prominent women-led dance company that enrolls local youth.
Five Democrats, including Richardson, are competing for the party’s nomination in CD 27. Also running are former Knight Foundation Program Director Matt Haggman, former University of Miami academic Advisor Michael A. Hepburn, Miami Beach Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez, and former UM President Donna Shalala.
The race will be open as incumbent U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is retiring. The CD 27 primary will take place Aug. 28.