There are more than 300 candidates running for the 160 seats in the Florida House and Senate. And, try as we will, FloridaPolitics.com won’t be able to interview all of them. So we are asking every candidate, including incumbents, to complete a questionnaire we believe offers an interesting, albeit thumbnail, sketch of who they are and why they are running.
If you are a candidate and would like to complete the questionnaire, email [email protected].
Today’s candidate spotlight features Don Festge, a Democrat running for Florida Senate District 38.
Significant other? Kids?
Mindy Grimes-Festge – met in seventh and eighth grade. First kiss: Jan. 19, 1985. Together since Jan. 22, 1985 (12th Grade) married 25 years. Three boys: Quinn 19, Riain 17, Sloan 13.
Education background? Professional background?
Played two years of college football Allen Hancock College, Catawba College, finished up at FIU. Degree in Business Administration-Marketing. Teacher for 25 years.
What was your first job?
Cutting trees and dragging branches.
In 25 words or less, why are you running for office?
I feel my community, my students and their parents need someone who truly cares about them. It’s about putting people first.
Did you speak with anybody in your political party before deciding on running? Receive any encouragement? From whom?
Yes, Mark Pafford. Best friend since fifth grade. Scott Galvin, a friend since 10th grade.
Who do you count on for advice?
Who is your political consultant? Campaign manager?
Who was the first person to contribute to your campaign? Why did they donate?
My former students. They believe in me.
Who, if anyone, inspires you in state government?
Why do people mistrust elected officials and what are you going to do about it?
Because many elected officials feel they are entitled. Support my community every day and expose those who do not.
What are three issues that you’re running on? (You’re not allowed to say education or “improving the schools”)
LGBT equality, poverty, income equality.
What is a “disruptive” issue (i.e., ride-sharing) you are interested in?
What does your legislative district need from Tallahassee?
A person who truly cares about all the diverse communities in the district.
Who was the best governor in Florida’s modern history?
If you could amend the Florida Constitution, what would you change?
The Florida lottery money would have to be used for its intended purpose as a supplement to enhance educational programs.
Are yard signs an important part of campaigning in your district?
What’s the first thing you read each morning?
My lessons plan for the day.
Where do you get your political news?
Online, radio, TV.
Who do you think will be the next President of the United States?
60 Minutes or House of Cards?
Social media presence? Twitter handle?
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Vine, Snapchat, Reddit — all @donfestge.
In 140 characters, what’s a tweet that best describes your campaign message?
No matter what you do in life, YOU matter. Live each day to make the life of another better.
Writing, building ponds.
Favorite sport and sports team?
Football, Miami Heat.