Meet Mamie “Dee” Melvin, a Democrat running for House District 33

Mamie Dee Melvin Campaign Photo

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: Mamie “Dee” Melvin, a Democratic candidate for House District 33.

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

The 20 year Republican death grip in Florida has hurt, not helped the average Floridian. We deserve a representative who will serve with transparency. 

Education background? 

I earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Bellevue University while stationed at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska.  During my 30 years in the Air Force, I also earned an Associate Degree from the Community College of the Air Force. 

What was your first job? 

I worked as the Administrative Assistant to the Dean of Students at Palmer College in Columbia, South Carolina. 

Spouse/Significant other? Kids? 

My spouse is Kenneth E. Melvin. We have no children 

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

I spoke with several leaders who were very supportive of my run for office. 

Who do you count on for advice? 

I rely on those with past experience campaigning and public office. 

Who is your political consultant? Campaign manager?

I am still interviewing for the position of Campaign Manager.

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

A community leader in Lake County was the first person who donated to my campaign. People who support my campaign do so because they want change toward the better in Florida and our community and believe that elected officials should be required to defend their votes and positions. 

Who, if anyone, inspires you in state government? 

I am inspired by everyone who enters public service who has a true desire to help other Floridians. I am especially inspired by Rep. Anna Eskamani. She works diligently to represent her constituents every day but most especially during this time when so many who have lost their jobs. She is working tirelessly to help those in her district who are trying to apply for their unemployment through the Florida CONNECT system. 

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

I have heard again and again that people don’t trust our elected representatives to be transparent. Many spend very little time in their districts until it is time to run for re- election. Many represent their donors and lobbyists and ignore their constituents. I have pledged to remain active in the district, to not be beholden to anyone but the voters and to answer every question and comment. 

What are 3 issues that you’re running on?

– I believe we must stop taking public dollars from public education and giving those dollars to private and for profit charter schools.

– I believe we must avail ourselves of Medicaid expansion to insure more than 800,000 Floridians.

– I believe we must take action to enact common sense gun laws. I’m not talking about taking anyone’s guns away. I’m talking about requiring background checks for all gun purchases to include those at gun shows. We must take action to ensure domestic abusers are not allowed to own guns. The average Floridian also supports these common sense gun laws. 

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

I am interested in e-commerce especially online retail and how it affects brick and mortar retail outlets and also how it affects taxes paid to states. Macy’s alone is projected to close 125 stores in Florida over the next 3 year. They also plan on cutting almost 2,000 corporate positions. Many online retail outlets do not pay the required Florida sales tax. According to the Tampa Bay Times, collecting these taxes this year would bring in additional revenue of $380 million. 

What does your legislative district need from Tallahassee? 

A functioning legislature that works for the betterment of Florida without a dysfunctional party divide. 

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

I believe Gov. Bob Graham was the best governor in recent history. He represented all Floridians. He emphasized education to include public universities. His administration focused on economic diversification and environmental policies. During his tenure the state added over 1 million jobs and was recognized by the accounting firm Grant Thornton as having the best business climate of all the states. Gov. Graham also launched an extensive environmental protection program focused on preserving endangered lands. He was able to rise above partisanship and get the work of the people done. I expect to do the same. When he left his position, his approval rating was 83%. According to the New York Times, he was one of the most popular politicians in Florida. 

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

I would include an all vote by mail amendment to the Florida Constitution. Even though Florida currently has a vote by mail program, I would put it in the constitution to protect this right from future politicians who would write laws to take it away from us. This is more important today than ever before. Voters should not have to choose between their health and their right to vote. We know all mail voting works because currently five states conduct all elections entirely by mail: Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington and Utah. For those of us who already vote by mail in Florida we know how convenient and secure the process is. We also know that some voters will prefer to vote in person. While an “all-mail election” means that every registered voter receives a ballot by mail, this would not preclude in-person voting opportunities on and/or before Election Day. 

Are yard signs an important part of campaigning in your district? 

Since I am running in District 33, which includes all of The Villages – where yard signs are not allowed in most places – yard signs will not be particularly important to my campaign. However, we will provide yard signs to areas where they are allowed. 

What’s the first thing you read each morning? 

A news aggregate.

Where do you get your political news? 

I read the Leesburg Daily Commercial, the Sumter County Times, the Orlando Sentinel, Tampa Bay Times, Miami Herald, New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and the Guardian. I watch local, network and cable news. I also follow posts of other media outlets on social media. 

Social media presence? Twitter handle?

I have a campaign Facebook page and a campaign website. 

Facebook

Campaign Website

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

We must fully fund public education & expand Medicaid to insure 800,000 Floridians. Climate change is real; science is not a dirty word. We all deserve equal justice, affordable healthcare & affordable housing. We must protect our right to vote through Vote by Mail. 

Hobbies? 

I enjoy reading and quilting. 

Favorite sport and sports team? 

If I had to choose a favorite sport, I would choose basketball. My favorite team would be the L.A. Lakers. 

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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