Meet Tamika Lyles, a Democrat running for House District 43

Tamika Lyles

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: Tamika Lyles, a Democratic candidate for House District 43.

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

As a mother, veteran, educator and union member, mediator, leader and community advocate, the issues that impact my communities impact me. State Representative will be an extension of my service to the people. 

Education background? 

I have a Bachelor of Science in Sociology with a concentration in Criminal Justice. I hold a Master’s of Science in Law. I am also pursuing a Doctorate in Public Policy and Administration. 

What was your first job? 

My first job was volunteering in the local county hospital, which led to employment as a Unit Secretary. 

Significant other? Kids? 

I have 3 sons from my previous marriage. 

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

Yes. I spoke with members of my local DEC and the current Representative for the seat I am seeking, John Cortes

Who do you count on for advice? 

I receive guidance from more seasoned people within the political arena, who are also advocates in their communities. 

Who is your political consultant? Campaign manager? 

Jennifer North is my political consultant and oftentimes wears the campaign manager hat as well. 

 Who, if anyone, inspires you in state government? 

Rep. Diane Hart inspires me in state government. She’s always available to me and I can see her love for the people of her community and her passion for advocacy. I look forward to working with her. 

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

People mistrust elected officials for these main reasons:

– The community only sees them when it’s time to vote.

– The community does not see any positive impacts from policy that impacts their communities. I plan to change their view by continuing to stay active and seen within my community. I plan to remain accessible and eager to know the concerns that plague the people.

– Lastly, I plan to keep the people engaged on policy, not just when it is election season. 

What are 3 issues that you’re running on? 

– Healthcare: I am seeking to expand Medicaid to over 850,000 people that were without health care prior to COVID-19 and the people who lost health care insurance due to the pandemic. 

– Education: I am seeking to increase funding in public schools so teachers have the means to do their job adequately and students have the tools necessary to be successful. 

– Housing: I am seeking to increase access to affordable housing. Currently my county is without a shelter and affordable housing is full. There is almost 500 students without a permanent roof over their heads and over 200 veterans on the streets. We have to add more resources. 

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

The increase in traffic congestion in Osceola County is a “disruptive” issue for my community. 

What does your legislative district need from Tallahassee? 

My legislative district need more policy from Tallahassee that directly impacts the community. People need policy that creates a real change within the community. 

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

No comment.

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

I would amend teacher’s inability to strike. I believe it limits their voices and forces them to rely on their perspective unions to negotiate and bargain for them. Florida ranks 46th in the country and teachers are unable to demand better pay with more immediate results. 

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

Yes, I believe the more people can see a candidate’s name, the more likely they will remember them when it is time to vote. 

Where do you get your political news? 

I watch CNN and MSNBC the most. However, I also watch Fox News when I need to learn opposing views on policy. 

Social media presence? Twitter handle? 

– Facebook: Tamika Lyles

– Instagram: Tamika Lyles

– Twitter: @LylesforSenate 

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

Change does not come from complaints coupled with inaction. Change come when we stand and fight for what we believe in. Join me on my run for change; our first destination- Florida House Chamber. 


– Advocacy. Yes, I really love what I do.

– Catching a good movie when I can.

– Spending time with my family and friends. 

Favorite sport and sports team? 

My favorite basketball team will always be the Chicago Bulls and San Francisco 49ers (football). 

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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