More than 300 candidates are running for the 160 seats in the Florida House and Senate. And, try as we will, FloridaPolitics.com won’t be able to interview them all.
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 Peter@FloridaPolitics.com.
Today’s candidate spotlight features Joe Davidow, a Republican running for House District 80.
Here he is in his own words:
Significant other? Kids?
Wife, Christina (also my law partner and significant better half). Daughter, Rebecca (5). She starts kindergarten this year. She is super excited, and I am terrified. Daughter Susanna, (2). In preschool.
Education background? Professional background?
BA in Poly Sci from Virginia Tech, 2005.
JD from St. Thomas Law in Miami Gardens, 2008.
Practicing business and commercial litigation attorney. I also do a lot of appeals. Licensed in the United States Supreme Court and lower Federal Courts of Appeal.
What was your first job?
Beach umbrella boy. The bulk of my compensation went to purchase milkshakes at the snack bar!!
In 25 words or less, why are you running for office?
I am passionate about public service, our community and state. I believe I can make a difference in the lives of District 80 residents.
Did you speak with anybody in your political party before deciding on running? Receive any encouragement? From whom?
Too many to mention. Community leaders, friends, and family have been encouraging and pushing me to serve in a public capacity. Also my friend and state Rep. Carlos Trujillo told me that we, as the State of Florida, have a budget bigger than most countries and that we need leaders in Tallahassee who know what they are doing. This left an impression on me and inspired me to want to get involved.
Who do you count on for advice?
My wife. My other law partner, Jim Willis. My parents and my brother. My close friends and fellow attorneys.
Who is your political consultant? Campaign manager?
Campaign Manager/Communications Director: Carolyn Tieger. Campaign Consultant: Rockie Pennington and Mark Zubaly.
Who was the first person to contribute to your campaign?
My family and friends. They know me, they believe in me, and they support me.
Who, if anyone, inspires you in state government?
My friends, Garrett Richter, Carlos Trujillo, and Paige Kreegel. They are all good, honorable leaders dedicated to their community.
Why do people mistrust elected officials and what are you going to do about it?
Pertinent question to ask in my race. While distrust in elected officials is usually due to inaction and failure to deliver on the promises they make to voters; more and more, it is about political opportunists, who will do anything to get ahead. My opponent has recently lied under sworn oath to the federal government and the state government on two different applications when asked about his criminal background. I will create a statewide public corruption office that will have the statutory mandate and strictly imposed timelines to investigate and prosecute these types of criminal offenses.
All too often public corruption occurs because we, as individuals, get caught in the web of bureaucratic ping-pong when trying to report it. This should not be the case, and I will work to fix that and wipe the slate clean so untruthful political opportunists will think twice about getting involved in a system that, instead of concealing the truth and supporting them, will actually expose and hold them accountable.
What are 3 issues that you’re running on? (You’re not allowed to say education or “improving the schools”).
Fostering of an Agricultural “Silicon Valley” in District 80 by expanding agricultural technology, education, research, and jobs in the district.
What is a “disruptive” issue (i.e. ride-sharing) you are interested in?
Lake Okeechobee water issues.
What does your legislative district need from Tallahassee?
First and foremost, a safe and expanded road in the interior.
Who was the best governor in Florida’s modern history?
Bob Martinez and Jeb Bush for modern history.
If you could amend the Florida Constitution, what would you change?
Are yard signs an important part of campaigning in your district?
Signs are always important, however, just because someone knows your name doesn’t mean they are going to vote for you. A good campaign focuses on personal interaction with voters. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker once told me a good politician has holes in his shoes from walking and meeting as many constituents as possible. In addition, a thorough campaign reaches voters in many different ways, including advertising, media relations, direct mail, social media, public events, etc. This is the age of information and technology. Today, voters have the opportunity and rightfully demand to know what’s behind a name.
What’s the first thing you read each morning?
NDN headlines and Drudge.
Where do you get your political news?
Fox, Rush, Drudge, Breitbart, CNN, NDN. I can’t bring myself to watch MSNBC.
Who do you think will be the next President of the United States?
Do you mean after Donald J. Trump?
60 Minutes or House of Cards?
House of Cards. I knew I wanted to be a public servant since I was seven years old and in the third grade. Although highly sensationalized, House of Cards is great way to visualize the scenery and architecture in Washington. As for 60 Minutes, I miss Andy Rooney.
Social media presence? Twitter handle?
Facebook: JoeForFlorida; Twitter: JoeForFlorida
In 140 characters, what’s a Tweet that best describes your campaign message?
I will create a sustainable future for Florida District 80 residents through Guided Growth. Those who know, vote for Joe Davidow.
Cooking, spending time with my family, and surfing.
Favorite sport and sports team?
The USA Olympic team.