Last night, Jose Oliva, CEO of the Oliva Cigar Company beat out two other candidates to win a vacant seat in the Florida State House. Oliva will represent House District 110 – which includes the cities of Hialeah and Miami Lakes in Florida.
The 38 year old cigar maker beat out two other Republicans – Rafael “Ralph” Perez, a former legislative aide to U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (when he served in the State House) and Frank Lago, a chief of staff for the mayor of Sweetwater, Florida. While the special election was technically a primary election, the results are final because there is no ballot on the June 28 General Election. The special election was held to replace Esteban Bovo who had resigned to run for Miami-Dade County Commission. Oliva ran as a Republican and is a long-time supporter of the GOP party.
Oliva is no stranger to serving the community. From 2001-2005, he served as the Hialeah Housing Authority Commissioner.
The campaign got heated when Citizens for Reality Check, a Hialeah-based group sent a letter accusing Oliva of ties to the Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega. In the letter it said, “Jose Oliva wants to be our State Representative proposing to create jobs but the jobs that Jose Oliva has already created are under the administration of the Sandinista government of Daniel Ortega.”
Oliva responded via email. to this preposterous statement by saying his father fled to Nicaragua from Cuba in the 1960s. He later abandoned Nicaragua when the Sandinistas came to power in the 1980s. The family “lost everything.. We have zero ties to the Sandinistas,” Oliva said. “The allegations are ridiculous and my opponent knows it… This carpetbagger doesn’t care about my community and will be spewing his poison in the next possible election again. (Oliva did not state which opponent he was referring to)
Oliva’s priorities include focusing around reducing government size and lowering taxes. No doubt he will be keeping a keen eye out for cigar enthusiasts in his district and beyond as well. No word on how this will affect operations at Oliva.