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Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera On Why He Wants To Be Florida's Next Senator

Steve Newborn
Carlos Lopez-Cantera

Florida Lt. Governor Carlos López-Cantera is one of four Republicans running to replace Marco Rubio in the U.S. Senate.

The son of Cuban refugees, he served as Florida's House Majority Leader before being tapped to his current post by Florida Governor Rick Scott in 2014.

WUSF's Steve Newborn caught up with Lopez-Cantera at the recent Hillsborough County GOP's Lincoln 2016 Red Ball in Tampa, where the candidate highlighted how he’s different from the other candidates.

Lopez-Cantera says he's a "committed conservative," who wants to bring a non-Washington, D.C. perspective to the nation's capital.

"If you want somebody who's as upset at how things are being done in Washington - who actually has a track record and proof of actually making a difference in governing as a conservative,  I want to be Florida's next Senator," he says. "I'm doing this for my children, and all the children and grandchildren in this state, so that they can live in a country where they can live their dreams without the fear of a government that is so involved in their lives that it makes it impossible."

Lopez-Cantera says he's a backer of state's rights and wants to reduce the role of the federal government. He also says he's very concerned about the national debt - "we're on a track to become Greece," and wants to improve services for veterans.

Lopez-Cantera, who's the son of Cuban refugees, opposes President Obama's outreach to Cuba. He says the only way the U.S. should have a rapprochement with Cuba is if the Communist regime improves human rights violations on the island - which isn't happening.

"My grandparents were political prisoners. I had uncles that were imprisoned in Cuba for years - just because they didn't agree with the government. That's something that we take for granted here in America," he says. "And that's why I have such a problem with what the president has done."

Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.
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