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: Phillip Snyder, a candidate with no-party-affiliation running for Senate District 17.
In 25 words or less, why are you running for office?
In order to show that politics can be about finding solutions, not picking sides. Also, to advocate for education, environmental change, and addressing income inequality.
Significant other? Kids?
I’ve been married to my wonderful wife, Brittany, for eight years. Together we have three amazing boys: Luke (5), Owen (2), and Caleb (1).
I have a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from the American College of Education. I also hold a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in English from the University of Central Florida.
What was your first job?
Bagging groceries at Publix.
Did you speak with anybody in your political party before deciding on running? Receive any encouragement?
Well, as an NPA, I have no political party. However, one of my dearest mentors encouraged me to run for a political office after we saw countless counts of unethical behaviours from our leaders. She said to me, “you can teach a lot of things, but you can’t teach integrity.”
Who do you count on for advice?
My wife serves as my closest advisor and friend, but I’m blessed to have a few mentors in my life who I lean on for advice.
Who is your political consultant? Campaign manager?
Our campaign is truly “grass roots”. My campaign manager is Judith Edouard, and neither of us have much experience in politics. We both just love our community and have the skills to mobilize people and the integrity to be true to our words.
Who was the first person to contribute to your campaign? Why did they donate?
My oldest brother was the first to contribute, and it was a show of love and support.
Who, if anyone, inspires you in state government?
I wish there was someone.
Why do people mistrust elected officials and what are you going to do about it?
People mistrust elected officials because for two primary reasons: 1) elected officials are primarily made up of the economic elite, which does not accurately reflect those who voted for them and 2) legislation that is passed in our state nearly always favors interest groups instead of citizens.
What are 3 issues that you’re running on?
– My first issue is getting teachers throughout the state adequate pay and incentivising more people to enter the teaching profession. This would, of course, be followed by a long term education reform plan that empowers teachers to lead change. As a former educator, I am deeply familiar with how many educators are leaving the teaching profession each year, and if we can’t stop that hemorrhaging, no other education reform will work since you will not have teachers.
– Secondly, I plan to address environmental change by creating more accessibility to solar panels for low income residents in Florida.
– Lastly, we will hone in on income inequality in Florida, in part by focusing on incentivizing home builders to produce “tiny homes” which are much more affordable for our residents, allowing more families to build wealth by owning a dignified home and reducing market risk with smaller, less risky, mortgages.
What is a “disruptive” issue you are interested in?
I believe that solar energy should not be monopolized by utility companies. Instead, more companies should be able to provide solar energy services.
What does your legislative district need from Tallahassee?
Our district needs financial support to clean the Indian River Lagoon and legislative support to stop the pollution from getting there in the first place.
Who was the best governor in Florida’s modern history?
I would be hard pressed to attach the “best” to any Florida governor in my lifetime, even understanding it as a comparative term.
If you could amend the Florida Constitution, what would you change?
I would add an amendment which guarantees a minimum wage that rises with inflation, ensuring that all Floridians who work for their living can have a dignified existence.
Are yard signs an important part of campaigning in your district?
In the past they have been, but our campaign is pursuing more than name recognition to win.
What’s the first thing you read each morning?
It can be a variety of things ranging from my Bible, whatever current book I’m reading, emails, or the news.
Where do you get your political news?
NPR and PBS are my main sources for political news.
Social media presence? Twitter handle?
In 280 characters, what’s a Tweet that best describes your campaign message?
Unify Florida, because politics is about finding solutions and not picking sides.
Reading, writing, woodworking.
Favorite sport and sports team?
Oh gosh, I actually don’t watch any sports.