An interview with Jonathan Rodrigues from the Brazilian Community Center in Deerfield Beach.
During election season, we tend to hear a lot about the Cuban vote or the Jewish vote. Both are powerful voting blocs that attract the attention—and promises—of politicians.
A young Brazilian community organizer has his eye on what he hopes will become another voting bloc.
Jonathan Rodrigues lives in Pompano Beach and volunteers at the Brazilian Community Center in Deerfield Beach. He got his undergraduate degree at the University of Chicago and spent much of his time there thinking about home—studying South Florida's Brazilian population and considering his own role in that communtity .
Rodrigues is a first-generation Brazilian American. “Historically that first generation is the generation that propels the community forward into civic engagement,” he said.
According to the American Community Survey by the U.S. Census, there are an estimated 21,000 Brazilians living in Broward County and another 12,000 in Miami-Dade. Rodrigues suspects that number is actually a lot higher.
“All you have to do is drive down Sample Road or North Federal Highway in Deerfield Beach and Pompano and you’ll see the proliferation of Brazilian small businesses.”
Even though Hurricane Sandy has moved past South Florida, the region's airports continue to feel the storm's effects.
Director of Operations at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Mike Monnemacher, said 152 flights have been canceled at his airport.
"One of our larger markets for this airport is to the Northeast," Monnemacher said. " So, when we're not having any operations into the Washington all the up through Boston area, that's a significant number of aircraft. So, right now we have 35 aircraft that really don't have any place to go."
Last year, Florida legislators passed a bill privatizing the state’s Medicaid program, moving recipients into managed care plans – a model patterned on a pilot program that’s been running in five counties since 2006.
The statewide change still needs federal approval – and for one family already living in a pilot county, it’s a troubling prospect.