By Yaël Ossowski and Marianela Toledo | Florida Watchdog
PEMBROKE PINES — Speaking exclusively to Florida Watchdog, businesswoman Karen Harrington laid out her case for the Republican nomination in the battle for the Congressional District 23 seat against Democratic U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
“The first thing we have to do is not spend more money than we take in,” she told Florida Watchdog.
“For the last four years, we have national debts ranging over $1 trillion each year, and that’s what is continuing to contribute to our national debt.
“So we have to get our spending under control, just like you and I would do in business and in our personal lives,” said Harrington, owner of Rickey’s Restaurant and Lounge in Hollywood and Pembroke Pines.
Unlike the 2010 congressional race, in which Democratic incumbent Schultz defeated her by more than 35,000 votes, Harrington said she believes this election will be in her favor, thanks to a renewed focus on her experience in the private sector.
“Being a small-business owner, I recognized what was happening to our economy and how out of touch the people in Washington were,” said Harrington.
She previously made national media attention by demanding Schultz release her tax returns, a demand the Democratic National Committee chairwoman often launched against GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney during the Republican primary.
Harrington has received the support of high-profile Republican voices across the state and country, including Minnesota U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann and Florida U.S. Reps. Sandy Adams, of District 24; Steve Southerland, of District 2; Dennis Ross, of District 12; and Rich Nugent, of District 5.
Turning to immigration, Harrington espoused her opposition to any broad reforms, also voicing support for a new immigration detention facility to be built in her hometown of Pembroke Pines.
“I do not support a pathway to amnesty for those who have broken the laws. We have laws on the books that need to be enforced,” said Harrington.
“We can’t want to bring jobs back to the American people and then not want to support how to deport some of these immigrants that are here illegally, taking American jobs.”
“Absolutely, I think we have the right in this country to be able to ask somebody for proper identification to know that they’re in this country properly,” said Harrington.
“It’s very disappointing that, together, the states cannot seem to work with the federal government in order to come together to make a plan to move forward and keep the American citizens safe, especially in Arizona, where the drug cartel is bleeding over into the state.”
Asked what voters can expect for Florida’s 23rd district this election season, Harrington offered a simple summary.
“They’re going to have a real choice. A choice between a career politician, who has been doing this her entire life, or someone like myself, who has been in the private sector, creating a business and raising a family.”
Watch Karren Harrington’s interview with Florida Watchdog: