Congressional Candidate Donna Shalala held a kickoff event for her general election campaign for Congress Monday at her new campaign headquarters, a 40,000 square foot warehouse surrounded by Pine Rocklands that will be converted to a Walmart after the race ends in November.
Environmental activist have been angry that Shalala sold 88-acres of land owned by the University of Miami during her time as its President to developers so it could be turned into a Walmart. The sale caused irreversible degradation to Florida's Pine Rockland habitat.
When asked for comment as to why she believes the endangered Pine Rockland site, located near Miami Zoo, should be commercially developed, Ms. Shalala dodged the question: "I'll tell you what's really endangered: Moderate voices in Congress," said the former head of Health and Human Services. "I'm so moderate..." Ms. Shalala announced with a pause.
"How moderate are you?" I finally gave in.
"I'm so moderate that I'm practically a Republican," said Shalala, "At least that's what you should tell your parents. But if anyone under 40 asks, then I'm really quite progressive. 'FEEL THE BERN!' fam. Yaaaaas'," added the 77-year-old.
"What do you think you are accomplishing with this stupid article?" said my friend Daniel. "Do you really want Shalala to lose? Her opponent is awful and will do nothing but support Trump's agenda. You shouldn't criticize Shalala."
The truth is, I don't know how to feel about Donna Shalala, but I don't think she should be in Congress because I don't think she understands how her constituents live. Also, and as bad as it is to point out, I don't think she has the longevity to be an effective voice for South Floridians.
This was an opportunity for the Democratic Party to back someone that could have developed into a stalwart for progressives in Miami. Instead, we picked Donna Shalala, who may indeed win this race, and may win again in 2020, but then will be one of the oldest Democrats in Congress, and will still be representing a district that predominately speaks a language she doesn't understand in a year that will likely be controlled by an electorate much more friendly to Republicans that the one she currently is struggling to energize.
"So what the fuck is your point? You're either for us, or are against us, and are therefore with Trump," said Daniel.
"Sigh...The Plantain endorses Donna Shalala for Congress, I guess."