John Stemberger: Andrew Gillum in two words: impressive and radical
Andrew Gillum at general election kickoff rally in Orlando.


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.

Guest Author


  • Jan Lella

    September 10, 2018 at 6:22 am

    Andrew Gillum is NOT ‘pro-abortion’. He fights for the rights of women to make their own choice!

    • Eric Miller

      September 10, 2018 at 8:08 am

      Taking the life of another human is not a woman’s right. The choice to murder is wrong – period. Shame on you

    • Judy Spangler

      September 10, 2018 at 9:23 am

      Exactly…NO ONE is PRO- abortion..smh. This is just more regurgitated Fox Faux News talking points, that’s all.

      • Eric Miller

        September 10, 2018 at 9:35 am

        So you mean that you don’t really want to take a life of an human when you say that it should be allowed? Kind of a paradox there my friend – they don’t end well – just sayin.

    • Karen

      September 10, 2018 at 7:08 pm

      Call it whatever you want it’s still murder !

  • Linda

    September 10, 2018 at 8:06 am

    Men are not acting out as women! FYI trans are born both sexes. Drs. determine the dominant chromasomes and do surgery. So the “man” is no longer a man/woman but just a woman or vice versa.
    I’m sick of people twisting things about this and making it look like they’re dangerous.

    • Gaye Ellis

      September 10, 2018 at 11:52 pm

      So they are hermaphrodites?

    • Starrose

      September 13, 2018 at 11:46 am

      I do not feel comfortable with the extremism of the transgender movement. They do not want normal accommodations and kindness, they want to steamroll over the safety and rights of women and girls. Florida is a tourist state. and families do not want any man claiming to be a woman being allowed to shower and undress with woman and little girls . And Floridians do not want to be bullied into agreeing that men are exactly the same as women if those men choose to identify as women. They are not exactly the same, they are non binary , they are not biological women and never will be. I sympathize with transgenders but only when they do not take things too far. I do not feel comfortable or safe with that.

  • Eric Miller

    September 10, 2018 at 8:06 am

    This man is a socialist. Make no qualms about it. If you want Florida to fall into the hole of tax and spend and spend – if you want to be told how to live and let to live – then vote for this ideological Karl Marx. Progressive is the word used for slow incremental socialistic change – instead of outright violent overthrow. This man and these people are threats to the way of AMERICAN life. I suggest they go to Venezuela or Denmark if they want all of this tax payer funded la vida loco.

    This is AMERICA not Europe kids. Your behavior and ideas have no place here.

  • Carol

    September 10, 2018 at 8:53 am

    Gullim most certainly is a radical advocate of abortion. He solidly promotes discrimination against the youngest and smallest in our land through ageism, depriving these young human beings of their rights to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. He radically promotes the unborn to be the property of women to choose if they will live or die, and the painful and brutal murders are through dismemberment or chemicall poisoning through the bloody act of abortion. No one should ever be the property of another person….we should have learned from history….but unfortunately we have, and this socialist G ullim certainly wants to keep this wheel of oppression, discrimination and ageism rampant!

    • Eric Miller

      September 10, 2018 at 9:55 am

      Very well said

  • Judy Spangler

    September 10, 2018 at 9:12 am

    Yes, please only list the ” far-left ” ideas and NONE of the FAR-RIGHT of Ron DeSantis…that’s a “fair” assessment in this op-ed, correct? Gillum IS CORRECT when he states that right now corporations in Florida re using so many tax loopholes that they are actually paying almost ZERO taxes…while the hard-working middle class is certainly paying their fair share …how is THAT ” fair”?? He’s simply saying that corporations should be paying their fair share like everyone else. Think about the revenue that would being to Florida….THEN perhaps we could help more of our veterans…open more treatment centers for the horrible opioid crisis we have here…help more low-income people to have access to affordable healthcare…help more young folks with their student loans, etc. There is a LOT that Florida could use that revenue for. And please STOP with the “socialist” crap…it is so LAME. And the same goes for ” oh, we’ll turn into Venezuela if you elect a Democrat!” nonsense. We didn’t turn into Venezuela during 8 years under Obama, did we? Nope. What we DID do is recover from the financial crisis ( which happened under George W’s watch) and biggest RECESSION since the Great Depression and made it possible for the current administration to INHERIT a great economy….NO “Venezuela ” just a great recovery. So please STOP with the lies and the fear-mongering…they’ve become so tired and lame…and tell the whole trurh about DeSantis next time as well.

    • Randym

      September 11, 2018 at 8:05 am

      Comrade well said, the bolshevik party will bring equality, we will have equal misery, rationed equally on food, medical, toilet paper, et al. Good news pot will be legal so we can all escape reality for a while each day.

  • Eric Miller

    September 10, 2018 at 9:39 am

    First – you need to understand taxes. Here is the deal. When my tax rate went up as a business – so did the cost of your product. It is regressive. You – the screaming worker – you are the one that pays it. I am happy to talk with you about any sides ideas.

    We need to get away from left vs. right and begin discussing common principles. How about if we do this. Let’s say we each look for Constitutional proposals and ideas from each candidate. That would make it common for us both and we can have a balanced discussion. What do you say?

    • Eric Miller

      September 10, 2018 at 9:45 am

      As a for instance

      Principle 7. The proper role of government is to protect equal rights, not provide equal things. “—That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men…” (Second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence)

      Agree or disagree?

  • Ray

    September 10, 2018 at 10:26 am

    The only thing radical is this op-ed and the far right rantings in the comments. Preach keeping government out of your life but insist that government control women; slam “socialism” while drawing their Social Security, Medicare and utilizing government socialized services like fire, police, roads. The right talk about no taxes but only because the tax dollars are going to in their mind the undeserving poor but tax breaks and subsidies for corporations are just dandy.

    This country was built on the belief of government for the common good but the right has perverted that into a radical capitalist vision (no where in the Constitution is capitalism mentioned; or God either)

    • Eric Miller

      September 10, 2018 at 10:36 am

      Uh Huh – well Ray – women are not the arbiters life. Sorry and Social Security is not an advocate of let alone a recipient – just as well another failed FDR program – I pay taxes for fire – road and sewer – I do believe that this country was built for the common good – shame we have too big of a duopoly controlling every aspect of your life – Socialism – Yes the right is equally as active in the sellout as the left – we the people however still have a foundation of constitutional agreement. That is what is supposed to drive the narrative.

      I can meet you on common ground – then we can talk about the controversy. But we have to start in a place we all agree on. The Bill of Rights and our founding documents.

    • Judy Spangler

      September 10, 2018 at 10:47 am

      Well said, Ray.

    • Eric Miller

      September 10, 2018 at 1:36 pm

      You are correct – the Constitution does not. That was to prevent the establishment of a State owned and run religion. The Declaration however did directly mention God. Why this is important to you Ray I am not sure but here ya go.

      The Declaration of Independence contains a theological teaching because the ultimate source of our rights and duties is God. There are four references to God in the Declaration:

      The “laws of nature and of nature’s God” entitle the United States to independence.
      Men are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.”
      Congress appeals “to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions.”
      The signers, “with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence,” pledge to each other their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor.

      • Eric Miller

        September 10, 2018 at 1:38 pm

        References to God
        The U.S. Constitution may not directly say God’s name but it does clearly indicate Christianity because George Mason, who is called the “Father of the Bill of Rights” proposed the language of the First Amendment “All men have an equal, natural and unalienable right to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that no particular sect or society of Christians ought to be favored or established by law in preference to others.” [1] This was known as the Establishment Clause because the express purpose for writing this law was so that there would be no state-sanctioned religion as it was in England for which reason the Puritans fled in the first place. What the Puritans wanted was extreme reformed Protestantism, stripped away of ALL Catholic tendencies and the Anglican Church. In reading “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” the framers of the U.S. Constitution intended that the government not interfere with the worship of God or determine which was to be the religion of the state.

        • Eric Miller

          September 10, 2018 at 1:40 pm

          You know – all part of that silly old Freedom and Liberty thingy !

          • Eric Miller

            September 10, 2018 at 1:48 pm

            PS Ray – capitalism is an economic system – not a system of governance. Socialism on the other hand is not a free market like we have – it is a State run – state controlled – business told by the central planner kind of thing – So socialism is a means of economic governance. Capitalism is a free market approach.

    • Judy Spangler

      September 12, 2018 at 7:00 am

      Very well stated, Ray. I couldn’t agree more.

  • Judy Spangler

    September 10, 2018 at 2:07 pm

    Oh please…with all this “socialist” crap…” socialist is just a WORD the Republicans have seized on to scare the voters ..just like they USED to use that scary word “liberal”….ooh…aren’t you terrified?! Give me a break. If supporting unions and teachers, affordable healthcare, trying to get prescription medicine prices down, and believing that everyone is created equal is ” socialism” ..than perhaps you need to go back to school and get an education. Or just stop watching Fox Faux News and listening to people like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity

    • Eric Miller

      September 10, 2018 at 2:50 pm

      Me thinketh you protest a wee bit too much – just sayin – why do you ask government to make all this better? We are not a collective. We are a Republic of individuals – with the government to protect or freedom not make to make edict. Why do you want everybody to have to do things your way?

  • A.Phillips

    September 10, 2018 at 3:15 pm

    I do not think he is an impressive candidate at all. Tallahassee has a high crime rate and he mishandled the storm last September causing residents to be without power much longer. He has shown himself to be unethical with regard to the responsibilities as mayor, just think what he would do with running the entire state. The commonality I see with Obama is that some will vote for him just to have the first black Governor of Florida and that did not work for out well for America for 8 long years and more.

  • Judy Spangler

    September 10, 2018 at 5:18 pm

    @Eric Miller. Not at all. I have worked since I was 14 years old ( am in my mid-fifties now) and have paid plenty of taxes and I don’t ask or expect the government to do anything for me. My husband is a service-connected disabled Vietnam war veteran (he’s a bit older than I ) and he still works 40-50 hours a week. I just feel that with all the taxes most of us have paid and with all the massive government WASTE….why SHOULDN’T the government help homeless and poor veterans with affordable housing…and why SHOULD seniors have to worry CONSTANTLY about whether or not they can afford their prescription meds…why should single moms who are already working 2 jobs have to worry that if,God forbid, they get sick and have to miss a couple days work they’ll be out on the street? We COULD do more to help those less fortunate while also using some of our budget to combat toxic algae & climate change and also fix some of our crumbling roads and bridges..instead of watching our politicians constantly vote for the DONOR class like we are right now. They’re not doing what we sent them to Washington to do…they’re doing what their donors want them to do. I’d like to elect someone who cares about the poor and the middle class instead of only the billionaire class…that would be a welcome change.

      • Eric Miller

        September 10, 2018 at 6:14 pm

        What do we have in common? Feel free to add to the list.

        We, Americans, have a runaway fiscal debt crisis that has enslaved our nation and both Party perpetuate it.
        We, Americans, have a regulatory system that has caused an abdication of duty by Congress and a smothering effect on freedom and markets and neither Party has worked to reverse the effect.
        We, Americans, have been & are being surveilled by the State and neither Party is protecting us.
        We, Americans, are being taught to believe that morality and virtue are bigoted and neither Party teaches differently.
        We, Americans, have abdicated our role in our governance from the many to the corrupt few and both Party work harder to protect it and prevent you from seeing.

    • Karen

      September 11, 2018 at 8:37 pm

      Every time I hear someone like you yapping about government providing handouts I know darn well I’m the one who’s doing the paying! I’m a 75 year old senior & I don’t need help from a dumbass like you or anyone else. Stop spewing CNN propaganda and shut up!

      • Judy Spangler

        September 11, 2018 at 9:15 pm

        Wow Karen….I haven’t heard anyone here asking for “handouts” or “spewing CNN propaganda” and you don’t have to be so rude. I would think as a senior you would be sick and tired of seeing your tax dollars pay for a $ 43,000 phone booth for the now-resigned EPA Director Scott Pruitt … $134,000 for a set of office doors for Secretary Zinke- on our tax dollars…other Cabinet Secretaries chartering private jets …on OUR tax dollars…$12 BILLION in farm BAILOUTS…on OUR tax dollars…a Potus who jets off on Air Force One EVERY. SINGLE. WEEKEND. And at one of his OWN resorts ( which charges tens of thousands of dollars EVERY WEEKEND for all his Secret Service escorts for their rooms…golf carts,etc) …yeah…i would THINK all you wpuld rail about all THOSE “handouts” coming out of your and every other taxpayers pocket . I know if MY tax dollar has to go somewhere other than staying in MY pocket…I’d much rather see it go to something like new schools for our kids, or to new infrastructure or to help homeless veterans than constantly paying for this SWAMP Cabinet to live the dang high life on my tax dime. Lord knows our schools, which rate 40th, need help here in Florida and we’ve got plenty of streets and roads that need repaired and homeless veterans everywhere as well.

  • Cam

    September 10, 2018 at 5:39 pm

    “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.”

    I’m not sure why I should trust your understanding of economic policy when you’re blatantly printing falsehoods like this. The Forbes article you link to notes that he proposes an increase of more then 40% to the corporate tax rate. This is not the same thing as raising the rate to more than 40%. His proposal, as also noted in that Forbes article, is to take it from 5.5% to 5.75%. Incidentally, even the numbers in that article are incorrect as this would be a 39.1% increase, which certainly doesn’t seem to be more than 40%. Perhaps your excellent understanding of economic policy can explain how that works?

    • Judy Spangler

      September 10, 2018 at 10:35 pm

      @Cam…now you do realize you are stating facts and that seems to be a dirty word with many on the right these days. Thank you though, for setting the record straight on what Gillum has actually proposed…as opposed to what they are trying to do…which is to twist his words into something they are not.

  • Eric Miller

    September 10, 2018 at 6:03 pm

    I can see we are getting closer to common ground. I agree with some of your principles if not almost all. What we do not agree on is who or what should decide the outcome. Let me offer this to you. Instead of government taking my money and wasting it on things neither of us see as priority, how about if they give more of it back to us. Stop taking, we are good people when we have common focus. Let’s all get government off our backs. Return money and power back to the people. Reduce regulation. Reduce taxes. Reduce government influence. If there are as many people on both sides that say we need to address the issues then let us do it. But lets reserve the full power and overbearing might of government as a last resort. Let the market place of idea and outcome triumph above edict and demand. Let’s try the We the People route for a while and let those that proclaim good nature show it.

  • Chris Kenney

    September 12, 2018 at 11:03 am

    If John Stemberger desires to live in the 1950’s, that’s his right to do so in the privacy of his home. The language employed by referencing “moms” shopping in Publix on Saturdays disregards the fact that in the real world there are also fathers, both non-mom females and non-dads, and a plethora of others. Maybe in his imaginary world, it would be only mothers doing grocery shopping. This exemplifies just how out of touch conservatives are and how unwilling they are to realize that a government of, by, and for the people rationally comprehends that collectively providing public education, including low to no-cost post secondary, as well as healthcare, regulating dangerous weapons, and assuring reasonable wages make us a better society.

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