State Rep. Vicki Lopez isn’t afraid to stand up to her party, bucking Republicans in Tallahassee on the issues of abortion, immigration and guns during the legislative session that just ended.
“I think the Legislature doesn’t remember what a moderate Republican looks like,” Lopez said during the Anti-Social podcast in the offices of the Key Biscayne Independent.
She also spoke about supporting a bill that eliminates referendums on zoning matters for
municipalities – saying she spoke to Village Manager Steve Williamson on the issue before casting her vote.
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Last November, Lopez defied the polls – which showed her five percentage points behind – to beat Republican-turned-Democrat A.J. D’Amico 51 to 49 percent. She is a former member of the Lee County Commission and served in appointed roles under Govs. Jeb Bush, Charlie Crist and Rick Scott, as well as leadership roles within the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce.
“I’ve said I’m a Republican, because I don’t like government and I think too much government intervention and regulation and interference is not good,” she said.
That said, Lopez represents a very purple seat and has positioned herself as a moderate, saying she intends on voting in the interest of her constituents. Though she voted yes on legislation that furthered Gov. Ron DeSantis’ war on The Walt Disney Co., she told Anti-Social that the business community is wary of it.
She did vote against a bill signed by DeSantis on Thursday cracking down on illegal immigration imposing new penalties and new restrictions on employers and undocumented workers. Lopez said District 113 is 74 percent Hispanic and that law could hurt businesses – hotels, restaurants, landscapers – who rely on these workers.
“It may undermine the economy but more importantly, we’re talking about real people,” she said. “You can’t be that dispassionate when you know that there are kids in our community that need help that have come here with their parents illegally.”
She said she also voted for her district’s interest when it came to voting against permitless carry and crawling back the age to purchase a firearm to 18. She said both pieces of legislation were being driven by lawmakers from rural counties that have no idea of the scourge of gun violence in metropolitan Florida.
“We live in an urban area and we’ve already got a problem,” said Lopez, who said she is a concealed weapons permit holder.
“I know that the Second Amendment is being used but I would tell you that our Founding Fathers were defending themselves against the British and all they had was a musket.”
Lopez voted against the six-week abortion ban just signed by DeSantis, saying at the time that she didn’t agree with giving rape or incest victims 15 weeks while giving all other women six weeks when most women don’t know they are pregnant.