The American Fire Sprinkler Association Florida Chapter (AFSA-FL) on Wednesday announced its first round of legislative endorsements for the 2020 state election cycle.
“The American Fire Sprinkler Association, Florida Chapter has always proactively met with lawmakers to educate them on our industry’s issues,” said Jessica Cox, executive director of AFSA-FL. “This year, we interviewed a large pool of candidates during our Tampa Bay Region Day and we believe our endorsements embody the values of our organization and are committed to representing small business interests in Tallahassee.”
The first set includes Michael Owen in HD 59, Joe Harding in HD 22, Ned Hancock in HD 55 and Michelle Grimsley HD 70. Owen, Harding and Hancock are Republicans. Grimsley is a Democrat.
Owen is attempting to win HD 59 back from the Democrats after exiting Rep. Adam Hattersley flipped it blue in 2018. He’s up against Danny Kushmer in the primary. The winner will face Democrat Andrew Learned on Election Day.
Harding is running to succeed term-limited Republican Rep. Charlie Stone. He faces Russ Randall in the Republican primary. Democrat Barbara Byram awaits in the general election, though HD 22 has a strong Republican advantage.
Hancock is vying for the seat currently held by term-limited Rep. Cary Pigman. He will go up against Kaylee Tuck in the Republican primary. Democrat Linda Tripp and a write-in will join the winner on the general election ballot.
Grimsley is one of four Democrats running to succeed exiting Rep. Wengay Newton. The winner of the primary will be unopposed in the general election.
AFSA-FL said it plans to make more endorsements this cycle following two more rounds of candidate interviews in Naples and Jacksonville.
The endorsements come as AFSA-FL moves to establish political committee to further its policy goals in the areas of workers’ compensation tax, regulation, health care, economic development, and labor.
“We’re excited to take the next step in forming a Political Action Committee to create a more powerful voice for our members and the fire protection industry as a whole,” Cox said.