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: Scott Hottenstein, a Democratic candidate for House District 57.
In 25 words or less, why are you running for office?
I’m running for office because District 57 needs a leader and true public servant who will fight for “We the People” not special interests.
– B.S. in Political Science, U.S. Naval Academy.
– Graduate Certificate in Policy Sciences, University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
– Joint Professional Military Education Phase 1, Air War College.
What was your first job?
Washing pots and pans and being paid under the table at a Mom & Pop Italian restaurant. My first real paycheck came from working at Publix
Significant other? Kids?
– Married for 23 years to Laura Hottenstein, a public middle school counselor at a Title 1 school.
– Two sons, one at Florida Tech, one a rising junior in high school.
Did you speak with anybody in your political party before deciding on running? Receive any encouragement?
I spoke to former candidates, local Democratic party members and elected officials, former students and their families, friends, and finally my wife and sons. I did receive encouragement to run.
Who do you count on for advice?
I’m fortunate to know many intelligent and accomplished people who I can call on for advice. The list includes some fellow educators, Naval Academy classmates, former Navy shipmates, and family. I’m lucky to have political consultants who share my values and in whom I trust.
Who is your political consultant? Campaign manager?
Parsons – Wilson.
Who was the first person to contribute to your campaign? Why did they donate?
Two of my first three donations were from parents of former students. You would have to ask them why they donated, but I’ve been blessed to teach or coach five of their children between the two. I’ve learned to look at politics and policy through the lens of the children I’ve taught, so maybe that’s why they donated – because I’m thinking of their children’s future.
Who, if anyone, inspires you in state government?
I can think of multiple Democratic members of the Hillsborough County delegation, plus others from the I-4 corridor, who have taken the time to meet with me and my students on lobbying trips to the capitol.
Why do people mistrust elected officials and what are you going to do about it?
Elected officials too often put special interests before the interests of “We the People.” Money is a primary motivator, and they will obscure information and the truth to earn more of it. I intend to always put the people first, share information, and speak the truth.
What are 3 issues that you’re running on?
I’m running to improve public education, public health, and public service. Specifically, I’d like to see an increase in education spending to a level that Florida is no longer in the bottom ten states, accept the Medicaid expansion, enact gun sense legislation to ensure criminal background checks on all gun purchases and to strengthen laws concerning safely securing guns, cap the cost of life sustaining medicine like insulin, strengthen laws concerning the reporting of sexual assaults at schools and student education about sexual assault, and stand against any legislation that seeks to override the will of the people.
What is a “disruptive” issue you are interested in?
Given my experiences as a middle school teacher during COVID-19, I would push for free high speed internet in every home and public space in Florida. The educational and employment inequities that have always existed were brought even more into focus during stay at home orders and eLearning. Connecting everyone in Florida to the internet will provide immediate jobs in the economy as well as close the technology gap in lower income communities.
What does your legislative district need from Tallahassee?
One thing in particular District 57 needs is Public Education Capital Outlay (PECO) money from the state education budget to build new schools. Our district is projected to need at least a dozen new schools, yet there is currently money to construct only two.
Who was the best governor in Florida’s modern history?
If you could amend the Florida Constitution, what would you change?
Although it has been superseded by federal law, we need to remove the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.
Are yard signs an important part of campaigning in your district?
They part a small part. Many HOAs in my district do not allow them.
What’s the first thing you read each morning?
I check my email and social media.
Where do you get your political news?
Local: Tampa Bay Times
State: Florida Politics
National: Real Clear Politics and 538
Plus I see news posted on social media from both ends of the spectrum.
Social media presence? Twitter handle?
In 280 characters, what’s a Tweet that best describes your campaign message?
Now, more than ever, we need a state legislature that can get the job done & take care of people. Throughout my 24 year Navy career & my seven year teaching career, I’ve proven that I do both. Elect Mr. H to make real changes to Public Education, Public Health, & Public Service!
Reading, bicycling, travel (pre COVID-19!), and cooking
Favorite sport and sports team?
– As a spectator: Soccer – the U.S. Women’s National Team.
– As a coach: Track – I was privileged to coach the Barrington Lady Bolts girls track team that won five straight cluster championships!
– As a participant: used to be soccer, but now it’s cycling.