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: Julio Rocha, a Democratic candidate for House District 48.
In 25 words or less, why are you running for office?
To bring economic change. As a job creator with 20 years of experience, I will bring jobs and the economic change the district needs.
MBA – Rollins College.
BA – University of Central Florida #GOKNIGHTS!
What was your first job?
Horse stable in Apopka, Florida.
Significant other? Kids?
– Wife: Yasmin
– Kids: Eva (Daughter) and Lucas (Son)
Did you speak with anybody in your political party before deciding on running? Receive any encouragement?
No. Yes, community encouraged me to run and business community encouraged me to run.
Who do you count on for advice?
Very good friends that have been very successful at what they do and what they have done with and for the community – Cari Coats, Anthony Suarez and Rob Panepinto.
Who is your political consultant? Campaign manager?
Who was the first person to contribute to your campaign? Why did they donate?
Rob Panepinto. Why? He believes in me and the changes I will bring to the district.
Why do people mistrust elected officials and what are you going to do about it?
I have mistrust in elected officials because some of them tell people what they know you want to hear, instead of what they are going to do. After they get elected, they focus on getting re-elected instead of serving the voters – regardless if they voted for you or not.
What are 3 issues that you’re running on?
– New Florida Economy: COVID-19 has showed us that we need to create more with less going forward. As a business leader with 20 years of experience in developing business and creating jobs, I will bring higher wage jobs to the district. I will also support new industries.
– Affordable Housing: COVID-19 Housing crisis, wages vs. rent, funding for affordable housing.
– Prosperity in Education: Legislation passed to increase teachers’ salaries was a start. Now we need to continue the job by increasing the salaries of experienced teachers, paraprofessionals, etc. Also, eliminate testing because: (1) It should not be a measure of the teacher’s performance (2) It is a not a true measure of the child’s level of education.It is a picture of the moment when the child took the test – child could have been stressed out, hungry, sleepless, etc.
What is a “disruptive” issue (i.e. ride-sharing) you are interested in?
Funding Hispanic business owners growth.
What does your legislative district need from Tallahassee?
Economic assistance and economic incentives to bring business to the district.
Who was the best governor in Florida’s modern history?
They all had issues.
Are yard signs an important part of campaigning in your district?
Yard signs are part of our strategy.
What’s the first thing you read each morning?
A newspaper – WSJ (I have a membership) and the Orlando Sentinel when I get to the office.
Where do you get your political news?
Parents, family, friends and community.
Social media presence? Twitter handle?
@JulioRochaFor48 in all social media platforms
In 280 characters, what’s a Tweet that best describes your campaign message?
@JulioRochaFor48 wants to #earn your #vote to represent #Florida HD48 – #Democrat w 20 yrs of #experience as a #jobcreator, #Husband #father of 2 in #PublicSchools – I know the #changes our #District needs to #improve the #quality of #life within our #community #Create #Jobs #Education #NoMoreTesting #Experience #Leadership #Politics
Running, reading and dancing.
Favorite sport and sports team?
Futbol (soccer for some) & Barcelona S.C. (team from Ecuador)