‘A fighter’: Janelle Perez debuts first pair of English and Spanish broadcast ads for SD 38

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Democratic local business owner Janelle Perez’s campaign for Senate District 38 is debuting its first broadcast ads in English and Spanish depicting her as a “fighter,” or “luchadora,” determined to improve health care options and living costs for Floridians.

The twin 30-second spots, different only in the language spoken, began airing Thursday in the southeast area of Miami-Dade County she hopes to represent in Tallahassee after Nov. 8.

The English-language video opens with Perez’s father, Martin Perez, speaking about his daughter. He describes her as “a fighter who is passionate to serve our community because it is part of our family values.”

The video then switches to the candidate herself, a Miami-born daughter of Cuban exiles whose successful struggle against stage 4 follicular lymphoma and leadership work in Miami’s LGBTQ community informs her political outlook.

“As a cancer survivor, I know accessible health care is critical, and as a working mom I am willing to take on the affordability crisis with real solutions,” she says. “Because it’s time we get things done for you.”

Perez is a co-owner of her family’s Coral Gables-based managed care company Doctors Healthcare Plans Inc. She’s an active member of the LGBTQ community who served as the first chair of the Miami LGBTQ+ Advisory Board.

Since launching her candidacy for public office in early August 2021, she’s received numerous endorsements, including nods from Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, Miami Sen. Annette Taddeo, former U.S. Reps. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell and Donna Shalala, Giffords PAC, Emily’s List, Equality Florida Action PAC, SEIU Florida, AFSCME, South Florida AFL-CIO, Victory Fund, Ruth’s List Florida, The Next 50 and Run For Something, among others.

She is one of five candidates the Florida Senate Democratic Caucus’ campaign arm, known also as Senate Victory, is backing in its slate of frontline races highlighted as featuring “strong, diverse women candidates” contending for flippable seats.

Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book, who leads Senate Victory, called Perez “the fighter Miamians need in Tallahassee to defend shared values and personal freedoms.”

“Janelle has the experience and the drive to take on tough fights and put everyday people first,” Book said in a statement.

In the General Election, Perez faces Republican former GOP staffer Alexis Calatayud, who currently works as director of policy and programs at the Florida Department of Education.

SD 38 covers a large, coastal portion of Miami-Dade, including the municipalities of Cutler Bay, Palmetto Bay, Pinecrest, South Miami, parts of Homestead and Coral Gables, and the unincorporated neighborhoods of Goulds, Kendall, Sunset, Perrine, Redland and Westchester.

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