I met Kevin Rader this morning at Palm Beach Bagel in The Reserve (441 and Clint Moore). He was very impressive. I’ve been interviewing candidates for various offices and Rader is probably the most knowledgeable of all of them.
Earlier I met with Joshua Izaak, who is running against Rader in a Democratic primary. Their election is August 26th. We also published an article by Izaak on education policy. There is no Republican candidate and no others we know of.
Ideologically Rader and Izaak are roughly the same – liberal Democrats. The difference comes down to knowledge, experience and realism. Rader has all three on his side. We talked about a number of issues and with a couple of exceptions he knew them in great depth.
Perhaps most important is that Rader understands his role. He’s in the minority in the legislature facing an large Republican majority. In that situation he knows he can’t enact much legislation and can’t outright stop the Republicans if they’re determined. Instead he realizes his tremendous power to ask hard questions. I’ve been in that situation myself on my hometown town board.
Rader also has a deep understanding of insurance issues because he works in that field. He says most of his work is in an unusual niche – beekeeping insurance.
In our earlier interview Izaak criticized a moment Rader had on the House floor. Here it is:
Rader didn’t flinch and he had a better answer for me than he had on the video. The condo association at Century Village asked him to propose the amendment. He explained the finer points of why the amendment would have made things better. It didn’t seem like a huge issue.
What’s important about this is that Izaak accused Rader of being affected by special interests in the insurance industry. That didn’t make a lot of sense as it just changes what the insurers are selling to whom. Rather Rader admits he was influenced by the condo association, which is also a special interest in a sense but not a terribly offensive one by the standards of most people.
Also, in simple terms, I just liked the guy. There are some key issues where we disagree but he was completely honest and didn’t try to please me by softening his positions.
When I asked about guns Rader didn’t hesitate to say he would ban AK-47s, for example. The ensuing conversation showed he knows almost nothing about firearms. He didn’t know that typical hunting rifles are more powerful, nor that rifles are rarely used in crimes. He wasn’t sure if he’s ever even fired a rifle. Rader also referred to the Sandy Hook shooting as the main reason for banning such guns, as if the deaths of twenty white schoolchildren are somehow more important than the thousands of black and Hispanic victims of all ages that don’t make the national news. On the bright side he seemed open to a discussion of the drug war’s role in causing violence.
When I asked Izaak about the gun issue I didn’t feel he was honest about his real views, and he still didn’t know anything about firearms. There’s no Second Amendment supporter in the race so this issue should not be decisive for any voter.
The big differences come down to knowledge, experience, and realism. For those reasons West Boca News endorses Kevin Rader for State Representative.
With that said, the conversation reflected an underlying problem with our political system. Rader is a consummate insider. He believes the system works better when insiders run it. He spoke approvingly of the nature of that system, where those who play the game are rewarded and others are not. While we don’t like it, we appreciate his honesty about it. We also doubt that Izaak would do anything to change it.
See the Kevin Rader website or his campaign Facebook page for more.