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State Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto Announces Congressional Run

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State Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Fort Myers, is running for Trey Radel’s former seat in Congress. 

She is the third Republican to announce a bid for Florida’s 19th Congressional District.

In a public letter to supporters announcing her candidacy on Monday, Lizbeth Benacquisto said, “after careful consideration and with the full support of my family, I know that this is the best way for me to continue to serve Southwest Florida.”

Benacquisto was first elected to the Florida Senate in 2010.

She has been among a handful of legislators working to solve water quality issues in Southwest Florida following the damaging releases from Lake Okeechobee last year.

Her announcement follows former Republican state lawmaker Paige Kreegel, who threw his hat into the race last month.

Retired CEO Curt Clawson announced this weekend (with a pricey ad-blitz) that he is also running in the GOP primary.

Governor Rick Scott set the special election primary to fill Trey Radel’s seat to April 22nd—and the general election on June 24.

Radel resigned from Congress last week after pleading guilty to cocaine possession in October.

April Freeman is the sole Democrat running for the seat.

Chauncy Goss announced Monday that he would not be running for Congress.

Here is the full text of her statement:

Dear Friends, Today I am announcing my candidacy to be your next Representative from the 19th Congressional District.  After careful consideration and with the full support of my family, I know that this is the best way for me to continue to serve Southwest Florida. My decision follows thoughtful dialogue with my friends, business leaders and the incredible people of this community. The encouragement I have received from our community to take on this challenge has been both humbling and inspirational. With your support and trust, it has been an honor to serve as your voice in the State Senate, where we balance our budget and pay our debts. I have continued to work hard every day to keep that trust. In just three short years, I have taken on special interests and fought to bring meaningful change to Tallahassee. Most importantly, as a tireless advocate for our shared conservative values, I have worked to protect individual liberty, reduce the size of government, and support free market solutions.   We are a nation founded on the liberties that can only come from our Creator. Our Founders, divinely inspired, took up a cause for which they risked everything including their own lives. Today that spirit still burns brightly in many of us, but it is threatened by a system of cronyism and special interests that ignore self-evident truths. For the sake of my two children and yours, I will solve the problems that politicians - Democrats and Republicans alike - ignore. This means we must return control of our education system to the local level and to the parents who can chart the best course forward for their families. We must repeal the disastrous experiment called Obamacare and put an end to "government knows best" healthcare. Additionally, because of the threat it causes to our national security and America's future, we must stop piling debt upon our children and future generations by spending more than we have. The time for strong and principled action is now. If you honor me with your vote and your trust, each and every day I will fight for the principles that guided our Founders. I will respect the trust you place in me, and I will serve you with a dignity that reflects our shared commitment to getting Florida and our great nation back on the road to prosperity. Throughout this campaign I look forward to visiting with you in your neighborhoods and hearing your thoughts, concerns and ideas to help shape our future.  There’s no doubt that special interests and those who want bigger government will challenge our values in this campaign, but I know that by working together, we can bring common sense back to the people's House. The things we value most are worth fighting for, and I would be honored to have you join our team. God Bless, Lizbeth Benacquisto

Ashley Lopez is a reporter forWGCUNews. A native of Miami, she graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a journalism degree.
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