A long-time union activist will challenge Rep. Mike Grant.
David Jones, an Englewood Democrat, filed as a candidate in House District 75, where he will run on a pro-environment platform.
“If we can send a person to mars and create an Air Force, we can knock out blue-green algae and red tide here in Florida, and southwest Florida in particular,” Jones said.
The retired Teamster spent most of his life in Toledo, Ohio before retiring to southwest Florida. But he’s worried environmental threats here will make fewer people follow in his footsteps.
“If I came here with a young family and I couldn’t use the beaches I wouldn’t be coming back,” he said.
And that’s what happened for many visitors in 2018 who came to Gulf coast beaches only to find no-swim warnings and locals wearing face masks to avoid breathing in toxins.
Jones thinks it’s a shame. He and wife Patti moved to the Gulf coast because it would be a great destination for their five adult children and their families to visit.
He also wants the state to consider more common sense gun reform.
“My family has hunted for five generations and I don’t want to take away hunting,” he said. “But on the other hand, some common sense measures on assault rifles make sense.”
Jones’ father died while he was still young, so he entered the workforce immediately instead of going to college. He quickly joined the UAW, sometimes working as a committeeman or a shop steward.
He said he still respects the needs of small business, even as he feels political alignment with unions.
The Democrat supports a gradual move to a $15 minimum wage, as prescribed in a constitutional amendment expected to appear on the statewide ballot this year.
Jones doesn’t have much to say right now about the Republican incumbent. But he’s browsed Grant’s financial reports and seen donations from many lobbyists, he said.
Grant, a Port Charlotte Republican and House Majority Whip, has raised $63,756. He’s running for a third consecutive term. He also served in the House for two terms in the ‘00s.
“I’m not trying to attack Mike Grant, I’m trying to get my message out,” Jones said. “If he comes after me that’s a different situation. “But I’d rather keep it clean.”