My campaign for state House District 81 has been met with incredible support and encouragement from the community; unfortunately, it has also been attacked with hostility and negativity from the political insiders and paid consultants. Am I surprised by the antagonism and misleading lies? I shouldn’t be.
When I first filed to run for office, I was threatened by the old-guard political establishment and told to back down — that my campaign would be “torpedoed” and I “could not win.” Well, I’m not one to back down from a challenge or a fight for the issues that matter. I never have and I never will.
My wife and I made the decision together. I filed for office to put my experience to work for District 81. I am a Florida Bar Board Certified Criminal Trial lawyer, served on my local Bar Professionalism Committee, and was a Sen. Bill Nelson appointee to the Military Academy Review Board.
I have been vetted by my legal peers and have been awarded the highest degree of ethics and integrity in my field.
I have run a positive campaign, focusing on the issues and my plans to bring real solutions for District 81 and Florida. That didn’t stop my opponent or her allies from getting personal and getting dirty. A slew of negative articles were written and accompanied by scandalous headlines to create clickbait and conversation, all without substance, and intended to mislead voters. Then, these same articles would wind up in mailboxes.
My opponent is not running on her record, because there is little to show for it. She hasn’t outlined any plans, any ideas, or any solutions. Campaigns are not perfect and mistakes are made, but we should be focused on the issues and record, not character assassinations and hit jobs.
There is a difference.
Then this weekend, I was labeled sexist. Not only was it insulting to my character, but it was an insult to the strong women who raised me. My grandmother, who luckily made it to our great country before the war and despite losing most of her extended family during the Holocaust, led her life devoted to her family and helping developmentally disabled children and adults.
My mother earned her Doctoral Degree in Early Childhood Education and was the CEO of Family Central. She remains a passionate advocate for children in South Florida, and she has been awarded countless lifetime achievement awards. My opponent knows this. She served on the Board of Directors of Family Central while my mother was CEO. She knows the type of women I come from, and she should call out her supporters for their blatant attacks and misrepresentation of my character.
It’s not sexist to speak the facts.
My opponent is not the right choice for District 81 — not because she is female, but because she doesn’t live in the District and doesn’t understand its issues. She cannot even vote for herself in this election. The truth is, the voters rejected her the last two times she attempted to run for office. Both times were in two different districts.
This is not an attack on her gender, but a conversation about her ineffectiveness and inability to represent an area that she doesn’t live in and her multiple failed attempts to get elected.
When I say she was ineffective as a legislator with barely any bills passed, I’m told that’s sexist.
When I say that she doesn’t live in the District she wants to represent, I’m told I cannot say that.
When I say she has lost her last two elections and run in two different districts before this, I’m told to stop.
When I say I am the only lifelong Democrat, I’m told how dare I. Even though it is the truth.
Meanwhile, she and her allies attack me personally, because I am a criminal defense lawyer who represents people who have a constitutional right to a fair trial. Just as the Democratic Party pushed to have convicted felons’ voting rights restored, I believe everyone deserves a fair shake. Democrats have a higher calling than to steep this low, but I shouldn’t be surprised. The insiders promised I would be “torpedoed.”
I was raised by strong women who taught me to work hard, be of service and be kind. My wife and I teach my daughter to dream big and work hard for her passions. I want a world for her where she can do anything she sets her mind to, just like the women role models who came before us.
The bottom line is, the political insiders and establishment want my opponent. You have to ask yourself why a Florida Tallahassee blog is so interested in a Democratic primary and writing salacious headlines to only benefit my opponent’s mail campaign? Why are thousands of dollars of special interest money flowing to her campaign coffers? Voters alone get to answer these questions.
The voters of District 81 want a fresh voice and new leadership who will tackle the issues. Hundreds of local residents have endorsed me, I have spoken at local churches and community meetings, and we have built the grassroots community support we need to win.
When the attacks start flying your way, you know you must be doing something right. Our message is resonating and voters want a solution-oriented leader to focus on the issues of the day.
I’m that leader and I’m ready to serve with honor, integrity, and ethics. It’s what the voters expect and deserve. It’s what they’ll get when I’m State Representative.