Jenna Persons didn’t know what to expect when she returned to door-knocking. But she was pleasantly surprised many were anxious to hear from candidates.
“I’m a strong believer we are better legislators the more we visit and communicate with those we seek to represent,” Persons said.
That’s been harder without many in-person meet-and-greets or forums. So she’s happy to get any chance to interface with those who could soon be her constituents.
Persons can speak to voters on the major conservative issues— she’s pro-life, pro-Second Amendment. But she knows constituents want solutions right now, a way past the economic struggles incited by the COVID-19 crisis. She knows that’s complicated, but believes strong, conservative leadership can find a path.
“The most important thing, rather than debating mandates and lockdowns, is to encourage one another all to do our own part to make informed decisions until we get to the backside of this pandemic,” she said.
It’s not easy. Families have to make decisions about schools. That includes her own. With a stepson with special needs in high school, the family has to balance out a number of needs and consider the challenges both of remote learning and returning to a highly restricted classroom environment. The family hasn’t decided which to choose.
“Parents just need to have a meaningful choice of whether to send their children back to school in a brick and mortar setting or to continue distance learning,” she said. “It’s going to be different for every family, and no family can know for sure what is going to happen or what changes can occur on a daily basis.”
Heading into the final weeks of campaigning, she feels confident voters will appreciate her leadership when she votes.
The Fort Myers attorney has proven a prolific fundraiser since her entry into the open House District 78 race. Looking out three weeks to a Republican primary, she boasts an advantage in donations. Through July 17, she raised $240,343 for her campaign and still had $62,910 on hand.
Foundation leader Roger Lolly, her chief Republican opponent, technically has more cash on hand — $108,203 — but has raised just $48,475. The $80,272 he’s spent on the raise already dips deep into the $140,000 he loaned the campaign out of his own pocket.
Since June 26, Lolly has spent $19,603, while Persons spent $81,373 in the same time.
Charlie Lynch, a January entry into the race, raised $3,200 and as of July 17 had $772 in the bank.
Persons said she’s not taking anything for granted. She plans to press forward until the primary is over.
“I just feel blessed by the strong support within the community, and I’m seeing that make a difference,” she said. “I didn’t become involved in the community to run for office. I decided to run for office because I have been a part of our community.”