Naples Daily News by Editorial Board
October 12, 2018
South Lee County voters would be wise to return Rep. Ray Rodrigues to the Florida House to finish the final two years that he’s allowed to serve before being term-limited as a state representative.
First elected in 2012, Rodrigues, R-Estero, has served three of the four maximum two-year terms allowed in the House. He’s the clear choice for voters in District 76, including Bonita Springs, Estero and barrier islands, on the Nov. 6 ballot.
Rodrigues has served as House Majority Leader the past two sessions. In appointing Rodrigues to the position, then-House Speaker Richard Corcoran offered high praise: “Ray researches his bills as good or better than any legislator. He’s an absolute principled conservative.”
In addition to serving the Legislature, Rodrigues has worked as a budget manager at Florida Gulf Coast University. His public service before that included a stint as a supervisor on a community development district, the Lee County Housing Authority and vice chairman of the county’s Republican Executive Committee.
Rodrigues is a statesman with an even-keeled demeanor, the kind of elected leader who is skilled at explaining his point of view on the most complicated issues. Even when you disagree with one of Rodrigues’ positions, as we do on several, he has a nonconfrontational style that makes it easy to listen to and understand his point of view.
His Democratic opponent, resort night auditor, and FGCU student David Bogner, can benefit from more time for preparation before serving.
Rodrigues has been one of the greatest defenders of open government in either the Collier or Lee legislative delegations. When the First Amendment Foundation and Florida Society of News Editors issued a report card last year grading lawmakers in both counties on their protection of Florida’s open meetings and public records laws, Rodrigues scored highest in the region.
One of his proudest achievements is shepherding through the Legislature a measure that became law, giving the public a right to speak at government meetings. He’s pursued legislation and says he will do so again this year, to rein in the practice of government agencies filing lawsuits against citizens who are seeking public records as a means of discouraging them from following through on their requests. In such a situation, the government agency is using taxpayer money to sue citizens.