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: Ned Hancock, a Republican candidate for House District 55.
In 25 words or less, why are you running for office?
I’m running for the Florida House to bring a farmer’s work ethic and Heartland Values to Tallahassee.
I earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with a major in Food and Resource Economics from the University of Florida.
What was your first job?
I wrapped Christmas packages at Benny’s menswear in 8th or 9th grade. My first job out of college was with Farm Credit as an agricultural lender.
Significant other? Kids?
My wife Tammy and I have three grown daughters: Marti, Alison and Savannah.
Did you speak with anybody in your political party before deciding on running? Receive any encouragement?
I spoke with former CFO Jeff Atwater and our former State Sen. Denise Grimsley as I was considering running. After a year of campaigning, I’d say they did a good job at preparing me for the ups and downs of this process.
Who do you count on for advice?
I spend a lot of time in prayer, but I’m blessed to have a number of friends and colleagues to bounce ideas off of depending on the subject area.
Who is your political consultant? Campaign manager?
Rich Johnston with Public Concepts is my consultant.
Who was the first person to contribute to your campaign? Why did they donate?
Marty McKenna was the first person to contribute to my campaign. He’s a dear friend, a great neighbor, and we serve on the Florida Citrus Commission together.
Who, if anyone, inspires you in state government?
I’ve been very impressed by Senate President Bill Galvano. I remember him as a young man in our community – he’s a fellow Sebring High School Blue Streak. Bill has always been thoughtful, even keeled and has remembered his roots. I also admire Rep. Paul Renner from the short time I’ve spent with him. I admire his service in the US military and he seems to be a man of deep faith, even in times when that isn’t the easiest path.
Why do people mistrust elected officials and what are you going to do about it?
Politicians get a bad rap for saying one thing and doing another. I was taught to tell the truth and that a man’s word is his bond. I’ve always tried to be dependable, honest and transparent. Those are qualities I won’t forget in the House of Representatives.
What are 3 issues that you’re running on?
I believe the most important issue the state will have to deal with is getting Floridians back to work. I’m also looking forward to advocating for rural education and working on water policy that allows Florida’s farmers and ranchers to continue feeding the nation.
What is a “disruptive” issue you are interested in?
I’m interested to see how the adaptation of technology in the classroom changes education. The last few months have forced our hand on distance learning and leveraging technology to keep students engaged and on track. I think the adaptation and integration of technology in education will be a major disruptor in the coming years.
What does your legislative district need from Tallahassee?
We need a Representative who can build relationships and effectively advocate for the rural communities that comprise House District 55. Our schools need Tallahassee to commit to fully funding the “Sparsity Supplement,” our business community needs to be considered as Florida plans and builds MCORES, and we need a strong voice to expand access to broadband internet in our communities.
Who was the best governor in Florida’s modern history?
I think we’ve been fortunate in the last number of years with our Governors. But I’d have to go with Jeb Bush. Whether you think I’m right, wrong or indifferent, Jeb facilitated change in a number of areas by standing strong on his principles. He was never dogmatic and always led with a level of civility that I really admired.
If you could amend the Florida Constitution, what would you change?
I would enhance the Burt Harris Private Property rights to allow agriculturalists to continue their way of life.
Are yard signs an important part of campaigning in your district?
Absolutely. It’s a great way to show support throughout the community.
What’s the first thing you read each morning?
Where do you get your political news?
I read Sunburn just about every morning, I subscribe to the online version of the Lakeland55 Ledger and Orlando Sentinel and the weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal. Occasionally I’ll tune into some cable news shows on Fox, but I don’t spend much time watching TV – especially without sports.
Social media presence? Twitter handle?
I’m on Facebook – haven’t made the leap to Twitter yet.
In 280 characters, what’s a Tweet that best describes your campaign message?
I’m a Pro-Trump, conservative citrus grower running for the Florida House to bring a farmer’s work ethic and Heartland Values to Tallahassee.
Following Gator athletics and fishing – particularly in the Florida Keys. I used to hunt a lot, but I’ve moved more towards spending time in the woods taking in the wonder of the creation that surrounds us.
Favorite sport and sports team?
I’m a fan of whatever sport is in season. My favorite sports team is, hands down, the Florida Gators.