Meet Clint Barras, a Democrat running for House District 120

Clint Barras for District 120-WIDE
'Inaction is irresponsible.'

Nearly 250 candidates are vying for state House and state Senate seats in 2020. Try as we will, Florida Politics can’t interview all of them.

Just like in 2016 and 2018, we’re again asking every candidate 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 feature: Clint Barras, a Democratic candidate for House District 120.

2020 Florida legislative candidate questionnaire:

Clint Barras.

In 25 words or less, why are you running for office?

To be the change I want to see in the world. Healthy, happy families depend on a clean environment and access to quality, affordable healthcare.

Education background?

I am a proud graduate of Florida’s public school system. I received my Bachelor of Arts from Boston College and a Master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communications from Georgetown University.

What was your first job?

The first job I had where I received a weekly paycheck was when I was nine years old.  I grew up on a farm in central Florida, and about a mile down our dirt road, a neighbor owned an egg-producing chicken farm.  There were four separate buildings, about 100 yards long, and each had five walkways that led between the rows of stacked chickens.  My job was to sweep the sidewalks, seven days a week. Looking back on that job now, with an adult’s understanding of how environmentally unsafe that was, is shocking.  No facemasks and for one dollar a day.  I was paid with a check for $7, and when we went downtown to cash the check each week, I felt incredibly proud.

Significant other? Kids?

My wife, Lynn, and I have been married for almost 22 years. We have two adolescent daughters: Skylar and Zoe, and two dogs, KITY and Cocoa.

Did you speak with anybody in your political party before deciding on running? Receive any encouragement?

Running to be the State Representative of District 120 was not something that was long on my radar. But there are times in life when we feel compelled to stand up for what we believe in. Before I decided to run, I spoke to a lot of people in my community, first and foremost, being my wife and immediate family. I am a Democrat, but I am not a career politician and don’t have deep or long-time connections to the State Party. I am a first-time candidate, which I think is an asset. Tallahassee needs an injection of new ideas and real-world experience. I look forward to providing that perspective and working with members of both parties to improve the quality of life of all Floridians.

Who do you count on for advice?

My wife, Lynn, who I call Sunshine, is the most patient person I have ever known. She is who I turn to most often. My brother, Paul, and I are just 15 months apart in age, and we have always been best of friends. Paul is incredibly smart and logical and is also a trusted advisor.

Who is your political consultant? Campaign manager?
I am currently interviewing a couple of folks who come highly regarded, but thus far, I have been managing the campaign myself. While I may be new to politics, I’m not new to organization, determination, and hard-work. That’s how I’ve lived my entire professional life. I’ve also read several campaign books over the past few months and have spent countless hours researching campaign management. That being said, I am not naive enough to think I can win alone. I’m fortunate to have a team of close friends and family who believe in my campaign and are willing to help out. I fully realize that I am part of something bigger than myself and that the candidate is just one part of a well-oiled machine.

Who was the first person to contribute to your campaign? Why did they donate?

I was with a group of my friends when I announced my candidacy. Immediately, an old respected friend asked me what the maximum contribution was and that he would like to be my first contributor. It was a touching and personal moment that I will never forget. Every contribution I receive inspires me to live up to the expectations of my supporters and the people of District 120.

Who, if anyone, inspires you in state government?

Florida is fortunate to have had a lot of quality public servants in our history. Right now, I am inspired by Rep. Anna Eskamani’s passionate advocacy for equality and social justice. I am inspired by Rep. Javi Fernandez’s intense focus on affordable housing and fighting climate change. And, while I may disagree with her on matters of policy, I am truly inspired by outgoing Rep. Holly Raschein’s work ethic and her love for our community. You can’t fake that.

Why do people mistrust elected officials, and what are you going to do about it?

I believe that our political system is broken in regards to campaign finance. That powerful outside business interests have too long directly influenced legislation that is not in the interests of the people but of those who fund campaigns. We must cleanse our Democracy of this undue influence, hold our elected officials accountable for their votes, not just the words they use, which are often
congruent to their actions. When elected, I will work with others who are equally as concerned with campaign finance reform, to restore trust in our Democracy.

What are 3 issues that you’re running on?

1.) In HD 120, one of our biggest problems is the poisonous water that has been flowing from mainland Florida, through the Everglades, Florida Bay, and our precious barrier reef. For decades, our natural resources, Florida’s greatest asset, have been under assault from irresponsible development. We must invest more in cleaning and protecting our environment.
2.) I want to expand Florida’s Medicaid program by first accepting the billions of dollars in federal aid available, which would allow 800,000 more Floridians access to healthcare. But more than this, I want all Floridians to be able to receive the health care they need without concern if they can afford it.
3.) My wife is a 28-year public school educator and administrator. I believe we can improve Florida’s public schools, which rank 26 th in the nation for educational outcomes and 46 th in teacher pay. Florida must invest in our people and communities. Providing educational opportunities for everyone, regardless of age, is in our State’s best interest.

What is a “disruptive” issue you are interested in?

Florida still does not have a comprehensive plan to combat climate change and sea level rise. We are the Sunshine State. The legislature should do what it takes to empower businesses and families to invest in renewable energy and storage, which will begin our necessary withdrawal from fossil fuels. American entrepreneurs are leading the way in creating good-paying green jobs across the country and I think we have an immense opportunity here in Florida. No effort is too small. It is no secret that climate change is the existential threat facing our nation and Miami-Dade and Monroe counties are in serious danger. The people of District 120 need someone who will fight for their future. Inaction is irresponsible.

What does your legislative district need from Tallahassee?

For starters, stop giving polluters a free pass. I believe Florida’s environment is our economy, and we must continue to invest in restoration and conservation efforts. In HD 120, we need to continue receiving monies to clean and restore our canals, and this funding source should derive from the Florida Keys Stewardship Act. Finally, the State needs to stop raiding the Sadowski Fund for affordable housing.

Who was the best governor in Florida’s modern history?

Well, Republicans have held a trifecta government in Florida for 22 years. That is, they have controlled the Governorship and both chambers of the legislature. The last Democratic governor was Buddy Mackay, who took office upon the death of Lawton Chiles in 1999. I’d like to think that Florida’s best governor is yet to be elected, whoever she is.

If you could amend the Florida Constitution, what would you change?

In Article One, Section 27, the Florida Constitution defines marriage as one man and one woman, which is discriminatory to our LGBTQ+ community. This definition should be expanded to include the union of any two persons who wish to be so joined under the protections of Florida law.

Are yard signs an important part of campaigning in your district?
Yard signs will soon sprout up all over HD 120, but I would not consider yard signs an important part of our campaign.

What’s the first thing you read each morning?

I like to support local journalism so I read my community and regional newspapers as often as possible, including the Miami Herald. I also frequently check multiple online news sources, with Florida Politics being at the top of the list.

Where do you get your political news?

For State politics, I use Florida Politics, SayfieReview.com, and state newspapers that have Capitol reporters.

19) Social media presence? Twitter handle?

https://www.facebook.com/ClintforFlorida
https://twitter.com/clintforflorida
https://www.linkedin.com/in/clintonbarras/

In 280 characters, what’s a Tweet that best describes your campaign message?

Florida must invest in its people and communities, to build a stronger future for all Floridians, from the ground up. A future when getting sick doesn’t mean going bankrupt. A future when our children will go to college without being saddled with debt. For Florida. For Us.

Hobbies?

I am on a bowling league and love spending time outdoors with my family.

Favorite sport and sports team?

When I have time, I enjoy playing golf. My wife and I both grew up as fans of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and we can’t wait to see what Tom Brady will do with our talented receivers. But I am also keeping an eye on Tua in Miami – how could anyone not root for him?

Jason Delgado

Jason Delgado covers news out of the Florida State Capitol. After a go with the U.S. Army, the Orlando-native attended the University of Central Florida and earned a degree in American Policy and National Security. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. He'd love to hear from you. You can reach Jason by email ([email protected]) or on Twitter at @byJasonDelgado.



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