Florida Democrats have nominated Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum to be their choice for Governor who will run against Republican Congressman Ron DeSantis on Nov. 6.
No doubt, Gillum is impressive. He is smart and attractive. He is a winsome communicator, has a beautiful family and has a certain youthful excitement about him.
His personal story is moving. He was born poor in Miami. His mother was a school bus driver and his father, a construction worker. He was the fifth of seven children and the first to graduate from high school. Gillum was elected to Tallahassee’s City Council in 2003 while he was still a student at Florida A&M University. He stayed on the City Council until his election as Mayor in 2014. A pastor friend of mine in Tallahassee who has personally known Gillum for years said Gillum is “Obama 2.0” and could easily be a future President of the United States.
In terms of political currency, Andrew Gillum is the package. He could be the most impressive Democrat candidate for Governor in modern Florida political history.
But he is also the most radical.
He self-identified in the primary as the “true progressive in this race,” and the USA Herald called Gillum the “far-left choice” in the Democratic field. CNN reported, “Gillum was, without question, the choice of liberals in this race” and said the lesson of the primary election was, “you can’t be too liberal.”
Gillum was backed early by radical activist and billionaire political funders, George Soros and Tom Steyer. Soros of New York is worth around $8 billion. Steyer of California is worth around $1.6 billion. If you have never heard of these men, do a couple of Google searches and you will realize how politically dangerous and far to the left these major out-of-state players are. They will eventually pump millions into Gillum’s campaign to silently manipulate the future of our state. Gillum said he is “deeply appreciative of Mr. Soros, as well as Mr. Steyer….”
Gillum was also endorsed by socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. The Bernie endorsement was made in person and came complete with a big public hug with State Rep. Carlos Smith, Florida’s openly gay-identified activist legislator standing by with a co-endorsement.
On economic policy, Gillum wants to turn Florida in an entirely new direction. He wants to raise the minimum wage from $8.25 to $15 an hour. He is also on record for raising the corporate tax rate to more than 40 percent — which is about a billion dollars. A Forbes magazine article described it by saying “Gillum’s proposal would make Florida the high tax capital of the South for businesses.” If you understand anything about economic policy, you know why these are really bad ideas for small businesses, for middle-class wage earners and for our overall economic growth as a state.
On education policy, he is an open enemy to school choice and vouchers and is “strongly opposed” to charter schools. He also wants to socialize and adopt Bernie Sanders’ free college education policy by “making college debt free.”
On social policy, having medical marijuana in Florida for certain medical conditions is not enough. Like personal injury lawyer John Morgan, Gillum now also wants to legalize pot for recreational purposes throughout our state, which is the family-friendly vacation capital of the world.
Gillum is backed by two of the most radically liberal groups in our state, Equality Florida and Planned Parenthood. These were supporting groups of the recent “die in” where activists and Democratic candidates lay down in “mass protest” inside Publix grocery stores across the state blocking moms from shopping on a Saturday morning this summer.
Gillum is one of the strongest advocates for the creation of new LGBTQ rights and “transgender rights.” He supports the so-called “Competitive Workforce Act” (CWA) bill that would allow men who subjectively express themselves as women to use women’s showers, dressing rooms and bathrooms in public schools, gyms, domestic violence shelters, scout camps, YMCA camps, and all other “public accommodations.” This is a blatant violation of the privacy, dignity, and safety of women and children. Mr. Gillum is apparently more sensitive to the “needs” of the biological males who act out as females than the thousands of real women who have suffered rape, abuse, and violence at the hands of men who would have to undress and shower with other men in close and intimate personal spaces if the CWA passes.
He has been described as a “sanctuary sympathizer” and directly called for abolishing the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE).
On health care, Gillum is on record wanting “Medicare for All,” saying he would “work through with anyone … to make health care more universal in Florida.”
He is pro-abortion and wants to use our tax dollars in Florida to reinstate funding to Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in America.
He is opposed to robust 2nd Amendment rights and has sued the National Rifle Association as Mayor of Tallahassee to prevent ordinary citizens from defending themselves in city parks. Gillum’s website lists extensive new gun control laws he wants and proudly advertises he “led marches” for new gun control laws.
Finally, Gillum has been dogged by and is embroiled in scandal and controversy over various ethics charges and other shady transactions.
As Mayor, he purchased an online email system with hard-earned taxpayer’s money and then used that for Democratic political campaigns and not city business. Since then he has been embroiled in a political firestorm. Brazenly, he said that he does not regret purchasing the email software, only that a political campaign email was “accidentally” sent. He did reimburse the city but as of 2017, the matter was being investigated by Leon County Sheriff Walt McNeil.
Additionally, and more significantly, there is an ongoing federal investigation into public corruption in Tallahassee that looms over Gillum. The scandal involves out-of-town developers who were able to influence city development projects. The federal probe is related to unreported gifts of Broadway tickets, boat rides, food and hotel rooms received during a New York City trip with a Tallahassee lobbyist and at least two undercover FBI agents posing as businessmen.
Two things are clear about Andrew Gillum. He is very impressive. But he also is very radical. Florida deserves better. Much better.
John Stemberger is a conservative leader who practices law in Orlando and leads the Florida Family Policy Council.