PROGRESSIVE CANDIDATES IN FLORIDA
Alan Grayson for Congress (FL-8)
Alan Grayson has been one of the rising stars of the Democratic Party this year, standing up to the Republicans every time they lie or oppose programs that would actually help Americans. He is the firebrand our party needs to keep moving forward. Republicans thought he'd be an easy target, but he has surged through grassroots fundraising and isn't looking all that vulnerable right now. But the right wing is still trying to challenge him. Democracy for America has eagerly endorsed Grayson for re-election. Here's what they have to say about him:
Representative Alan Grayson is living proof that Democrats win when they stand up for what they believe in. Grayson ran for Congress in his traditionally conservative area as a progressive Democrat, going on to win 52 percent of the vote in November 2008.
Since heading to Washington, Grayson has become one of the progressive movement's best voices, taking the fight for real healthcare reform with a public option straight to the Republicans working to killing any and all reform.
If you live in the FL-8 district, you can help this progressive champion defeat the right wing yet again by volunteering for his campaign. Or you can contribute to his re-election fund. Either way, keep in mind this is a critical race for 2010.
Joe Garcia for Congress (FL-25)
From Democracy for America:
Joe Garcia has fought for the people of South Florida his entire life, and he'll continue to fight for them in Congress. He'll fight to bring good jobs to Florida. He'll fight to protect the environment. He'll fight to hold insurance companies accountable to the people they're supposed to work for.
In short, he'll fight for you. Join the campaign today.
Joe Garcia's statement to DFA:
I believe in treating others with respect, that your word is your bond and in fairness and equality. What motivated me to enter public service was watching my family's experience as they arrived in this country as immigrants seeking the American dream. I believe in fairness as it pertains to access to healthcare, quality education and in the workplace.
It's simple: to put families first. As my wife and I look around our community, I am concerned that my daughter and her generation is inheriting a community that's not as prosperous or offers the same opportunities as the one her parents found. That's unacceptable to me. And that's why I'm running for Congress -- because our children deserve every opportunity we had.
First, job creation by incentivizing new industries and innovation that create well-paying jobs here at home, rather than in China and India. I want to see the words "Made in America" again. Second, make education a top priority to prepare our children for the jobs of the 21st century. Third, saving one of the most important institutions in my community -- Jackson Memorial Hospital -- because people who work for a living ought to be able to take their kids to a doctor when they get sick.
Find out more at Joe Garcia's website.
April Griffin for Hillsborough County School Board District 6
This is actually one of the more important races in the country. I have been focusing a lot on Texas School Board elections because of the considerable influence Texas has on textbook publication throughout the country. But a Daily Kos article has alerted me to another important school board race: April Griffin for Hillsborough County School Board District 6 in Florida.
Here's info on April Griffen from her website:
April Griffin was elected to the School Board in 2006. She is one of seven members responsible for making policy decisions and overseeing a budget of $3.1 billion for the 8th largest school district in the nation, which is also the county’s largest employer with approximately 25,000 employees.
In spite of the financial crisis that has affected our entire nation, the Hillsborough County School Board, unlike other school districts; has not laid off one employee, closed one program, or closed one school, and still managed to bring $100 million dollars to the school district from the Gates Foundation to empower effective teachers. April remains steadfast in her commitment to these priorities.
She has been active in her children's schools for many years. Prior to her full-time commitment to the school board she was a successful business owner and long-time child and elder advocate. The Weekly Planet (now known as Creative Loafing) honored April with a "Best of The Bay" award for her humanitarian work with the medically needy.
She currently serves on the national Board of Directors of Youth Crime Watch of America, the Juvenile Justice Board for the 13th circuit, the Hillsborough County Council of Governments, and the Kids Healthcare Foundation. She is a Tampa Chamber of Commerce Leadership Tampa alumna.
April was born, reared, and educated in Hillsborough County. She and her husband Brian Griffin celebrated their 20 year anniversary in 2009. They are the proud parents of two sons. Her oldest son Randy graduated from Hillsborough County Public Schools in 2010 and her youngest son Chase still attends Hillsborough County Public Schools.
April Griffin stands ready to continue bringing positive change such as growing and improving career and technical programs, fiscal responsibility, and administrative oversight and accountability to the Hillsborough County School District.
April Griffin is being challenged by a right wing fundamentalist who seems about the worst kind of religious fanatic you can find. His name is Terry Kemple and he is a proud Teabagger. He is an anti-science creationist who also opposes sex-ed in schools and believes in the discredited abstinence only program (which has been shown to increase teen pregnancy). This is precisely the kind of fool we want to keep OFF our school boards. You can read more about Terry Kemple's insanity in this Daily Kos article.
This race is a prime example of a competent, intelligent, pro-science, pro-education member of a school board being challenged by a crazy, fundamentalist fanatic who wants religion to replace science...just like the Taliban. Please help support April Griffin for Hillsborough County School Board District 6. It is exactly this kind of race that gets ignored by progressives, allowing right wing fundamentalists to extend their control.
Millie Herrera for Florida's 114th District Representative:
Democracy for America has endorsed Millie Herrera for State Representative for the 114th District. Here is what they have to say about her:
Millie has dedicated her life to helping others -- working for a better Florida and working to train the next generation of progressive grassroots leaders.
Millie has felt this recession firsthand. As a small business owner, she's worked to create jobs in this tough economy. She knows the struggles Florida families face and she has the experience and vision to help put the state back on track.
Millie Herrera has been endorsed by the Florida Professional Firefighters Association, the Florida Education Association, the South Florida Council of Fire Fighters, the United Teachers of Dade County, Former Miami-Dade Public Defender Bennett Brummer, and one of my favorite Congresswomen, US Representative Loretta Sanchez (of Orange County, California, I should note).
Here is Herrera's statement to DFA:
I am a lifelong progressive Democrat, born in Cuba and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, went to school in Carbondale, Illinois, and lived in Caracas, Baton Rouge and Dallas, Texas before moving to Miami in 1987. In 1995, I became active in Miami politics after Newt Gingrich's "Contract ON America" showed me what happens when progressives become complacent, serving as Miami-Dade Democratic Party Deputy Director, then in 1997 organized the Miami-Dade Democratic Hispanic Caucus and was its President until 1998. In 2000, had the honor of being a delegate at the DNC National Convention, and was also elected President of the Democratic Hispanic Caucus of Florida, and was reelected in 2002. My passion has been to bring Hispanics into the Democratic Party and awaken the sleeping giant with voter registration, community organizing, and GOTV. In 2000, I founded The Miami Group, a marketing and business consulting firm. This gave me the opportunity to serve my community, becoming a volunteer Guardian Ad Litem for abused and neglected children, and serving on the Kendall Community Council. In 2004, I ran for State Representative in District 114. My opponent, the Republican incumbent ran a very well funded campaign and I did not prevail. My work on behalf of children in the juvenile justice system and the abused and neglected continued, as well as advocacy for growth management and halting sprawl in South Florida. In 2005-2006 I was the spokesperson for the Hold The Line campaign in the Hispanic community. In 2007-2008, I worked tiredlessly to elect a Democrat to the White House, and hosted a Spanish language radio show until April 2009 to communicate the Democratic message and point of view on the issues to the Hispanic community in South Florida. I continue to advocate for progressive issues: health care for all, highest quality public education, immigration reform, women's rights and the right to choose.
I am running because we need a sweeping change in Florida politics. Too many Florida state legislators protect the interests of big business over the best interests of their constituents. I will be a voice for working families, small business owners, children and a clean water and environment.
-Improve education by increasing funding by the state of school districts, community colleges and universities
-Economic development programs to bring new industries to Florida that create new jobs
-Growth management laws that protect the Everglades and our drinking water
If you live in Fountainebleau, Sweetwater, University Park , Westwood Lakes, Westchester, Kendall, Richmond West or South Miami Heights, please volunteer to help Millie Herrera's campaign. If you can't volunteer, please donate.
Russ Patterson for Florida House District 60
From Democracy for America:
Russ Patterson felt a calling to enter public service and he answered that call by joining three different campaigns as a community organizer, regional field organizer or field director. Later in life he answered that call as a substitute teacher in Hillsborough County while earning my teacher certification.
Now Russ is answering the call in running for Florida State House -- and his grassroots campaign for change earned him DFA's Florida All-Star endorsement.
Here is Russ Patterson's statement to DFA:
I am a Career United States Air Force officer, serving all over the USA and the world. I left home at 17 to attend the USAF Academy, and after I graduated and was commissioned, I flew as a navigator on KC-135s, the same type of planes as those stationed at Macdill. The Air Force gave me the opportunity to work with many different types of people in many different countries. I learned how to succeed, even with limited resources and to succeed when working in high-pressure situations. My military career, combined with my service later in my life has prepared me to be an effective representative for the District 60.
This is why I am running: We can do better! I see us striving for sustainable economic development focusing on local business and job growth that does not over task our water supplies or make our traffic worse; for us to strive for a sustainable environmental policy where we develop long term energy and transportation policies that don't rely on more and more petroleum - we should take advantage of being the "Sunshine State;" and finally, to have educational policies where schools are held accountable fairly and where teachers and administrators at the school level are given the latitude needed to provide the good education our children need for future success. I will be a representative to help make this happen. I will be “Russ for us!”
Throughout my career, and especially my career with the US Air Force, I worked successfully with many different types of people in many different places to effect positive change. I know what it is like to meet many different challenges and succeed. My career also gave me the freedom to give back to my country with public service. I will represent the people of District 60 and not the special interest groups that seem to control our legislature today. I’ll be a representative of the people like our founding fathers envisioned back in 1776.
1974 – 1994 USAF, stationed in OK, CA, NC, The United Kingdom, and The Netherlands
1995 – 1999 General Manager, Cambridge Arctic Shelf Programme, Cambridge, UK
2000 - 2006 Community Organizer, Field Organizer, Field Director, MO, PA, VA, CT, RI, ME, LA, AR, FL for Democratic Campaign Management School
2001 – 2002 Executive Director, Wilson County Fair, Wilson, NC
2006 – 2007 Regional Organizer, Equality Florida, St. Petersburg, FL
2007 – 2010 Guest Teacher, School District Hillsborough County, FL
2009 - Present Certified Public School Teacher, Social Science, Grades 6 to 12
We can do better! My vision for Florida and District 60 is different from what the legislature has been doing the last 10 years. I see us striving for sustainable economic development focusing on local business and job growth that does not over task our water supplies or make our traffic worse; for us to strive for a sustainable environmental policy where we develop long term energy and transportation policies that don't rely on more and more petroleum we should take advantage of being the "Sunshine State;" and finally, to have educational policies where schools are held accountable fairly and teachers and administrators at the school level are given the latitude needed to provide the good education our children need for future success.
Find out more at Russ Patterson's website.