State Representative Bob Cortes recently completed his third legislative session representing House District 30. As the only State House member to represent both Orange and Seminole Counties in Tallahassee, Cortes has perhaps the most diverse group of constituents from the Central Florida Delegation.
Cortes recently sat down to discuss his work in Tallahassee and his political future with OPO Publisher Doug Kaplan.
Like many legislative sessions, there were battles, this time over issues like gambling, medical marijuana and the budget, which Cortes believes will result in at least one special session and that the Governor will veto the budget.
Then there is the contentious issue of the ballot measure passed that would allow voters to increase their homestead exemption from $50,000 to $75,000. Local municipalities including the Seminole County Commission says it would pull from their resources if passed. Cortes, along with his Republican colleagues in the state legislature believe it’s a tax cut Floridians want.
“Each year you will see an increase in property values between 5 and 7 percent in Seminole County. Each year, residents that own property are getting a tax increase.” say Cortes “I just saw the Seminole County budget and they have almost $8 million in new revenue coming. The goal remains. People need relief.”
While there was plenty of disagreements during and now after the session, Cortes is proud of some of the legislation he was still able to pass, including the “Grieving Families” Act, which would allow parents to receive a birth certificate for a child they might have lost due to miscarriage. The first legislation of it’s kind in the United States.
“People say ‘Why is it important?’ and I’ve talked to a lot of parents who have had miscarriages and it’s a traumatic thing. It gives them an opportunity to grieve and I’m proud to have it.” says Cortes
For a time, Cortes was considering challenging Stephanie Murphy for Congress in the 7th district before deciding against it. The Altamonte Springs lawmaker isn’t ruling a future run but he’s staying put for 2018.
“I considered running against her. I believe I can beat her, I’m positive of that.” says Cortes “However the timing is not right. We still have a lot of things we want to get done in Florida, I’m going to take advantage of doing that and bring a lot of good things to the district.”
You can watch Cortes’ complete interview below…