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 Jason@FloridaPolitics.com.
Today’s feature: Michele Rayner, a Democratic candidate for House District 70.
In 25 words or less, why are you running for office?
District 70 deserves leadership who is willing to stand with and fight for our community and this our moment.
– Lakeside Christian School, High School.
– Florida State University, Bachelors of Science in Political Science and International Affairs.
– Florida State University, Masters of Science in International Affairs.
– Florida Coastal School of Law, Law Degree.
What was your first job?
I was a cashier at Winn Dixie.
Significant other? Kids?
Married for 2.5 years and 3 pup children.
Did you speak with anybody in your political party before deciding on running? Receive any encouragement?
I did! I spoke with my family. I also spoke with Ben Crump, Ana Cruz, and Sean Shaw. All three of them I count as mentors and friends.
Who do you count on for advice?
I have friends who are not involved in the process, so they are always able to provide a unique perspective that is not politically expedient, so I seek them out.
Who is your political consultant? Campaign manager?
Who was the first person to contribute to your campaign? Why did they donate?
Benjamin Crump. He shared with me, not only does he believe in me and my track record, but his clients need strong advocates in the House to ensure our government is equitable.
Who, if anyone, inspires you in state government?
Right now, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley and Omari Hardy.
Why do people mistrust elected officials and what are you going to do about it?
Serving in public office is about partnering with our constituents to bring home solutions to the problems that many in our community and across this great state face everyday like the disparities that exist in our public education system, affordable housing, and access to good-paying jobs. We must commit to moving from just talking about the issues to acting on solutions.
What are 3 issues that you’re running on?
Housing Equity: I am committed to passing legislation to repeal outdated anti-tenant statutes and to ensure the Sadowski Trust Fund is fully-funded and will vote against appropriating those monies to any other area.
Criminal Justice Reform: I am committed to protecting Amendment 4 and also will file legislation that addresses youth incarceration and diversion programs to ensure that our children are being given every chance to thrive and reach their potential.
Education Equity: I will ensure that public schools are equitably funded and that all teacher’s salaries are increased to $50,000 and fight against putting taxpayer’s dollars in the hands of charter school operators who are prioritizing profits over our children’s futures.
What is a “disruptive” issue you are interested in?
Repealing minimum-mandatory sentences.
What does your legislative district need from Tallahassee?
The Legislature has consistently deprioritized public education in Florida. I will advocate for an annual budget that does not divert funds from public schools to charter schools, support increased teacher salaries & benefits, and reforming standardized testing.
Who was the best governor in Florida’s modern history?
Gov. Lawton Chiles.
If you could amend the Florida Constitution, what would you change?
The Constitution has been amended to include Amendment 4. I am and will continue to work to protect Amendment 4 when I am elected.
Are yard signs an important part of campaigning in your district?
Our campaign is proud to have the support of so many in the community and welcome the displays of support including yard signs.
What’s the first thing you read each morning?
A daily inspirational passage, email, and CNN.
Where do you get your political news?
CNN, MSNBC, and Florida Politics, of course.
Social media presence? Twitter handle?
In 280 characters, what’s a Tweet that best describes your campaign message?
If you are looking for me, I will be with the people.
Reading and traveling.
Favorite sport and sports team?
Favorite sport is Florida State Football. My favorite team is Florida State Seminoles. I bleed garnet and gold.