Meet Jim Carroll, a Democrat running for House District 85

Jim Carroll - crop 2

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: Jim Carroll, a Democratic candidate for House District 85.

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

To tackle the critical challenges now presenting a clear and present threat to South Florida’s viability as a place to call home.

Education background?

– B.A. – English (with Honors), University of Wisconsin.
– J.D. – Catholic University Law School, Washington, DC, and an editor of the Catholic University Law Review.

What was your first job?


Significant other? Kids?

Married, two kids (son at UF, daughter a recent FSU grad).

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

Yes. Yes.

Who do you count on for advice?

Florida Democratic Party Chair Terrie Rizzo, Laurie Watkins, Mike Coleman, Eric Johnson, a few local senators and representatives, and one or two local government officials.

Who is your political consultant? Campaign manager?

Eric Johnson. Me (with the advice and counsel of Eric, and the advice, counsel, and assistance of my wife).

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

My father-in-law (a Republican). He said I was moderate and sensible (and I think he wanted to continue to be invited over for dinner).

Who, if anyone, inspires you in state government?

Agricultural Commissioner Nikki Fried, Rep. Tina Polsky, Sen. Lori Berman, Rep. Joe Casello, and the late Kristin Jacobs.

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

I think it’s because (a) the people are lied to too much, and (b) the people believe that many if not most elected officials are out for themselves, not the people. What I’m going to do: The opposite, i.e., not lie and not be out for myself, and work hard for two years to try to advance the best interests of the people of District 85 and the State.

What are 3 issues that you’re running on? 

1.) I want to help us recover from the pandemic by:
–  fixing our unemployment system.
– fixing our public health system.
– mandating complete government transparency in communicating with the people about public health matters such as this pandemic, and ensuring that any budgetary belt-tightening because of the pandemic doesn’t unduly imperil the 2020-session allocations to teacher pay raises, Everglades restoration, affordable housing, Florida Forever, or the 3% pay raise for state employees.

2.) I want to clean up our waterways.

3.) I want to tackle climate change and sea-level rise, starting with steps such as overhauling South Florida’s outdated flood-control system.

What is a “disruptive” issue (i.e. ride-sharing) you are interested in?

Gun regulation. I believe in common-sense gun safety measures that can help protect people from gun violence.

What does your legislative district need from Tallahassee?

Cleaned-up waterways, an overhaul of South Florida’s flood-control system, more affordable housing, and increased teacher and school-employee pay.

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

Lawton Chiles.

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

– Create an independent redistricting commission. The fair districts amendment in 2010 required the redrawing of legislative and congressional districts without regard to incumbents or political parties. This 2010 amendment won’t work well in practice unless and until there’s an independent redistricting commission carrying out its mandate.

– Require that any proposed amendment address only one subject.

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

Don’t know yet. I see them during the election season, but I don’t know if they’ll work for my race. I’m reviewing the issue.

What’s the first thing you read each morning?

Most days: Sunrise (listen to), then read Palm Beach Post and Sunburn.

Where do you get your political news?

Mostly the above, and New York Times, Sayfie Review and the articles cited therein (from papers and sources around the State), Sun-Sentinel, and, though less now because of its paywall, the Miami Herald.

Social media presence? Twitter handle?

Facebook – Jim Carroll for State House
Twitter – @JimCarrollCampaign

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

It’s time for a change in Tallahassee.


Running, hiking, visiting national parks, and now, apparently, sheltering in place.

Favorite sport and sports team?

Football. Notre Dame (have a nephew on the team, whose father played for the Tampa Bay Bucs).

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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