By Saraana Jamraj
Senator Perry Thurston will be facing a new challenger this year.
Steven Meza, a newcomer, and progressive Democrat, announced his run on June 5, seeking to represent Florida’s District 33, which represents parts of Tamarac, Margate, North Lauderdale, Lauderdale Lakes, Lauderhill, Fort Lauderdale, Pompano Beach, and Oakland Park.
At 21, the Florida Atlantic University student would be one of the youngest State Senators if he won. Only one other 21-year-old has served in the Florida State Senate, in 1995, Amber Mariano, a Republican, who still serves today.
“Part of the reason why I decided to run is that we’re hungry for a lot of change, especially in Broward County,” said Meza.
He said that there are many progressive values present in South Florida, and he wants to see real change happen, which he has not with the incumbent Senator Thurston.
“A lot of our politicians are moderates, and that’s not really what [progressives] are looking for, especially complacency,” said Meza.
In addition to being a student, he an advocate for community leadership to his former high school organization, ADIMU Men of Excellence, at Blanche Ely High School.
Meza also volunteers with Hands-On-Broward and is the Environmental co-chair of the Florida College Democrats.
If elected, he said that his top three areas of focus would be education, infrastructure, and the environment.
“We are 45th in educational spending in the nation. We need to increase our per-student spending and teacher salaries,” said Meza.
Regarding the environment, he believes common-sense laws holding polluters accountable, especially the Big Sugar industry and other corporations being subsidized by the government, must be passed.
Although he doesn’t officially file his qualifying papers until next week, he has already been endorsed by the local chapter of The Sunrise Movement, one of the nation’s largest environmental organizations.
“Being a progressive isn’t just about flipping the whole system; it’s about creating a change that’s equitable and equality-based.”
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- Selene Raj is a writer and a Florida International University graduate. She's completed her Master's in Mass Communications in 2020, and has been living in Coral Springs since 2004. She is passionate about the communities she lives and works in and loves reporting and sharing stories that are as complex and meaningful as the people who live in them.
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