2018     General Election      Lost 50 — 49

If Florida were your right arm  

Tallahassee would be just above your armpit.    Jacksonville is two and half hours east, at the top of the Florida peninsula, at the other shoulder.

Tallahassee is a small city — fewer than 200,000 people.  It is not what you expect of Florida.  Hardly anyone speaks Spanish.  It is nearly 60% white, 35% African American. It has a history of progressive politics and electing blacks. 

Andrew Gillum https://andrewgillum.com/ was thirty five when he became Mayor of Tallahassee.  In college, Gillum was student body president.  In the South and the Midwest, young men who become president of the student body know they have taken a step toward high political office. 

Not so much for Andrew GillumHe was President of the student body of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) — an Historically Black University.  Whatever Andrew Gillum‘s ambitions were as student body president, he played them out and expanded them soon after graduation.

Tallahassee has three large educational institutions in town. FAMU.  A community college which employs more people that FAMU.  Florida State University.  FSU is largest of the three by far.  A major university that is also serious about football and basketball. 

Tallahassee has a more important institution in town.  It is capitol of Florida.  The legislature is there.  The Governor is there.  The Departments are there.  Someone going to college in Tallahassee can think about and observe government.Twenty-three years old, while still a student at FAMU, Andrew Gillum was elected to a one year term as a City Commissioner (alderman or city councilman in another city).  He was elected to a regular four year term after that. He was elected to two more four year terms after the first one. ‘

Andrew Gillum served a one year term as Mayor Pro-Tem at the beginning of his first four year term as City Commissioner.  As a Commssioner, he focused on kids.  He brought technology to youth and to the schools, opened a teen center, created a focus on restorative justice for youth, and supported the creation of a downtown park.

He was elected Mayor with 76% of the vote.  He continued his focus on kids.  He moved the community to support early childhood education, child care, family training, and mentors.  He made neighborhoods safer through a combination of a community watch program and increased cooperation among stakeholders.  He introduced a plan for conversations among diverse members of the community. He got people more involved in local government, persuaded prospective employers to get rid of questions about arrests and convictions, introduced Mayoral Fellows from the two local universities, and lobbied Washington for transportation improvements. 

Not all was roses.  Andrew Gillum used government software for sending political emails, but was cleared of a claim that he had purchased the software for no public purpose.  He hired a private equity investor as treasurer for his campaign. The treasurer had, it turns out, an investment which received city develpment funds.  The FBI cleared Andrew Gillumof any conflict.  Other federal corruption investigations appeared to be focused on a period that preceded his time as mayor.  Andrew Gillum fired the treasurer.

Ron DeSantis is Gillum’sopponent.  He is another thirty-nine year old.   But quite different.Harvard and Yale Law School to begin with.  A JAG prosecutor for the Navy.  Elected to Congress in 2012.  DeSantis has not been a quiet Congressman.

He opposes abortion and has denounced Planned Parenthood.  Now that tax cuts have passed, he wants Congress to focus on cutting spending.  He was a leader in an effort to impeach the head of the Internal Revenue Service.  He would eliminate the federal government’s role in education.  He favored repealing the Affordable Care Act and raised questions about the need for a replacement.  He opposes virtually all restrictions on gun ownership.  He has a “0” rating from the Human Rights Campaign which works on behalf of the LGBQT community. 

DeSantis makes a thing of being an ally of President Trump.  Before Trump acted, he supported cutting off aid to the Palestinian Authority unless it recognized the State Israel.  He has proposed restrictions on Robert Mueller’s investigation of the Trump campaign’s relationship with Russia.  He has sought criminal investigations of the investigators.What does DeSantis want for Florida? 

  • He would protect beaches and restore the Everglades. He has nothing to say about climate change.  .
  • He would spend more on education.
  • He would keep taxes low and reduce the state’s bureaucracy.
  • He would take steps to stop illegal immigration.
  • He would appoint conservative judges
  • He supports the first amendment (that is he says he opposes those who would silence conservatives), the second amendment, and would prohibit abortion.

Gillumhas a longer list:

  • He begins with the problem of climate change, touts Tallahassee’s reduction in carbon emissions, and would work for clean air, clean water.  He sees economic benefits from clean air, water, and energy.
  • He would invest a billion dollars in Florida schools, would increase salaries and restore construction funds. He would focus on early childhood education and children’s achievement.
  • To pay for education expenses, he would increase corporate taxes.  He argues that cities should eliminate local business taxes.  He would create a state wide focus on technology and solar energy.
  • He expresses appreciation for the contributions of immigrants to Florida and says the choice between security and a compassionate immigration policy is false.  He denounces the federal policies of separating children from their parents and would welcome refugees.
  • He is proud of his success in fighting the NRA, successfully protecting a prohibition against shooting guns in public parks.  He favors prohibition of assault weapons and universal background checks including private sales.
  • He supports the legalization of marijuana and the revenue that legalization would bring.  He would eliminate cash bail and supports a system that helps those who get out of prison become productive citizens.  He would fill the three upcoming Florida Supreme Court vacancies with people who support the law and reflect the interests of the state’s diverse population.
  • Ultimately, he would support a Medicare for All approach.  Until then, he would expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
  • He would initiate policies that support equal treatment and equal rights for the members of the LGBQT community.
  • He would support an Equal Rights amendment to the Florida Constitution to ensure equal pay for equal work.  He would work to address various issues of interest to women ranging from clean places for breast feeding to improved and affordable child care.
  • He welcomes Puerto Ricans who have come to Florida to escape the harm caused by last year’s hurricane.  He promises support that ranges from free college tuition to work on affordable housing.
  • He supports Israel — a two-state solution, Florida’s anti-BDS legislation, and improved Florida-Israel economic and technology relations.

Whoever is elected, Florida gets a 39 year old governor.  If Florida elects Andrew Gillum https://andrewgillum.com/   Governor, they will get a better education system and a more law abiding, more equal, and more humane state.  Help that happen.  Provide some support to Gillum.