Upper Keys residents Holly Raschein and Jose Peixoto both ran for County Commissioner, District 5 and served the remainder of Commissioner Mike Forster’s term.

When Forster passed away from COVID-19 in September, Raschein was selected by Gov. Ron DeSantis to temporarily fill Forster’s seat.

However, under Florida statutes, if a vacancy arises in a county commissioner seat and the remainder of the term is 28 months or more — as in the case of Forster — a candidate will be elected in the next general election to fill the remaining term. The election will take place on November 8, 2022.

Jose Peixoto

Republican Jose Peixoto, 61, is originally from Brazil and has lived in Key Largo for 30 years and raised three children in the Keys with his wife Bianca. He maintains the Key Largo and Ocean Reef homes. However, he follows local politics closely, and while he has yet to win an election, he has run for Florida Keys Mosquito Control District 5, Florida State Representative, and the US Congress.

His first campaign was for the mosquito district in 2010, and he decided to run because he was worried about the high salaries of the employees. The district issues that concern him are affordable housing, the environment and the transparency of the Tourist Development Council (TDC) budget.

“I think some of the money TDC has should help the sheriff,” he said. “We live surrounded by water, the Florida Keys are a drug gateway, and the sheriff doesn’t have a busy marina. I want the district commission to report to constituents on how TDC money is being used.”

Peixoto fears Raschein, also a Republican, is not following party lines.

“I’ve been accused of campaigning negatively for bringing up opponents’ records,” he said.

He pointed out that during her time as a state MP, Raschein voted against a law that stipulates that parents must be informed about an abortion of their child.

“I don’t think abortion is birth control,” Peixoto said. “That’s what a Republican means. We are conservative people and vote for life all the time.”

Holly Raschein

Raschein, 41, from Tavernier, is Director of Government Relations at AshBritt. She was previously given a 2020 term by the State House after four terms.

Raschein was born in Anchorage, Alaska and moved to Florida in 1999 while attending Florida State University. She graduated with a degree in Political Science. She also has a Masters in Public Administration from Florida International University. She has a 9-year-old son who is enrolled in the Keys school system.

Raschein wants to fight for a clean environment, responsible development and resilient infrastructure.

“I’ll never forget that I’m in a position I never wanted to be in — having to follow in Mike Forster’s footsteps,” she said. “I will never live up to his legacy but will spend every day trying. But I’m honored that our great Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, thought I was the best person in the Keys to take up his torch. On the other hand, Mr. Peixoto is a perennial candidate, having run in every election cycle since 2010. It would be disrespectful to my constituents to tag his comments with a response. My 20 years of service to Monroe County—as a legislative adviser, a member of the Florida House of Representatives, chairman of two House committees dealing with environmental issues, and a member of the Republican leadership team in the Florida House of Representatives—stand on their own, and I’m excited about that , how this new challenge as County Commissioner unfolds. … I have the privilege of serving the people of Monroe County.”

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