Congressman Darren Soto may have only been in the U.S House of Representatives for about a month and a half but he’s already made headlines for many of his early moves since taking office. The former State Lawmaker has been on the front lines of many of the battles currently taking place on Capitol Hill.
The Congressman from the 9th District decided to skip the inauguration of President Donald Trump with dozens of other Democratic members of Congress, he was at Orlando International Airport the weekend the Trump travel suspension took effect to reunite lost family members who were lost during the confusion, and he’s made the growing Puerto Rican community in the region one of his top priorities with an active voice in the discussion over the future of the island.
“When I heard the attacks on Congressman John Lewis, I was offended by them, he had taken me under his wing early. People from Georgia are our neighbors, I saw what was happening and it felt right to say “No”.” explains Soto when reviewing why he skipped the inauguration and adds he gave all of his office’s tickets to the event to Republicans in the District.
The Trump travel restrictions have been lifted after a panel of Judges ruled against the orders earlier this month. Still, there has been some concerns by members of the Hispanic community here in Central Florida that those policies could eventually effect their families as well.
“Esta orden esta contra nuestros valores y de nuestra constitucion.” says Soto in Spanish pointing out that the Trump travel orders are against the communities values and adds that the Hispanic and Muslim communities will continue to stand together. “En este pais todos somos uno.”
Soto adds that any hostile immigration policy will hurt Central Florida as well, including the foreign labor working in the agriculture community in Polk County, their second biggest industry.
While the environment in Washington is the most divisive it’s been in years, Soto does see an opportunity to get things done with Republicans for the state. Praised for his work across the aisle in Tallahassee during this time in the State House and State Senate, the Congressman see’s opportunities to advance infrastructure in the state by working with GOP House members like Ted Yoho, Francis Rooney, and Carlos Curbelo.
Some of Soto’s other big priorities for his first term also include a farm bill to fight Citrus Greening which has hit the area hard in recent years. He’ll also seek funds for the completion of Sunrail and high tech job development in the region.
“You’ll see and hear a lot of the headlines about division, but if you look closely, we are working together on issues where we have common ground.” he adds. “They’ll be moments when we fight and we won’t hesitate about it, but we’ll still be doing the day to day business to get the job done for Central Florida.”