EX-DEA AGENT IS RUNNING FOR COUNTY COMMISSIONER
Last week, Tavernier resident Tom Raffanello announced his candidacy for Monroe County Commissioner, District 4, to run against David Rice in 2022. Rice is a longstanding member of the BOCC, with four four-year terms under his belt. Both Rice and Raffanello are registered with the Monroe County Supervisor of Elections.
The district includes part of Marathon, through Plantation Key with a small west end of Tavernier.
“I’m excited about it,” Raffanello told Keys Weekly. “I’ve got a lot of energy, and I want to learn more and listen to the people.”
“A lot of energy” is right. His resume speaks volumes: When he ended his 32-year career with the Drug Enforcement Administration in 2004, he was a Special Agent In Charge, Miami Field Division. In this position, he commanded the DEA’s largest field division, which includes 22 offices throughout Florida and the Bahamas; directed the activities of 900 special agents, task force officers, intelligence analysts, diversion investigators and administrative employees; and oversaw a discretionary budget of some $15 million.
Other career highlights: “I served for Congress in the ’90s as the DEA’s Chief of Congressional Affairs. I worked with Joe Biden’s office on the crime bill. It’s when I got hooked on politics. I was there during Waco, through Nicaragua, several intense situations. I learned a lot and met wonderful people. And a lot of people who weren’t so wonderful. I learned how laws are passed, how the budget process is done, and how influential lobbyists can be. And I learned that people shouldn’t be in offices for most of their adult life.”
During his DEA career, Raffanello moved to Florida several different times, including once during the early ’80s on temporary duty during the Mariel boatlift, then as a supervisor in investigating Colombian cartels and Miami drug trafficking.
“I worked as chief investigator in the Noriega case,” he said. “It was something.”
He was transferred for a time to Washington, D.C., then back to Miami in 2002 as special agent in charge of Florida and the Bahamas.
He landed in the Florida Keys 12 years ago as a retired family man. He had a mandatory retirement at age 56 from the DEA.
“I got married at 60. And even though I’m 73, I have a 12-year-old daughter and a 10-year-old son. The school system here is one of the best in the state. We love the Keys.”
Raffanello describes himself as a conservative. “I’m a registered Republican. I worked for Ronald Reagan,” he said. “I think you need to participate at the local level to affect good, positive change in the community. For me, running for county commissioner was the next logical step.”
He sees affordable housing, traffic and safety as crucial issues. “We need to make sure affordable housing is for the workforce and citizens with limited income. I’m not sure we’re doing that right now. What I would do is see what issues have not been resolved, such as affordable housing, safety and hurricane evacuation. I want to talk to the people. I’m a decision maker and a problem solver. If you have a problem, I see my responsibility is to offer suggestions of how to solve it. I have a track record of 20 years as an executive manager. ”
And Raffanello wants everyone to know he’s not a fan of raising taxes. “I’ve handled budgets over 200 million dollars, and I had to make decisions all the time. Being a conservative, I think low incomes taxes are imperative. … If I had seen that there was a proposed tax increase, I would question it. It’s incumbent on you to figure out a different way.”
More information is available via email to moc.liamg@syeKeht4moT or by phone at 305-440-2375.
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