Meet Ken Willey, a Libertarian running for House District 18

Ken Willey
"I want a world set free in my lifetime through localization, deregulation, and protecting the rights of the individual."

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: Ken Willey, a Libertarian candidate for House District 18.

In 25 words or less, why are you running for office?

I want a world set free in my lifetime through localization, deregulation, and protecting the rights of the individual.

Education background?

Graduated from high school in 1990. Enlisted in US Navy where I attended Hospital Corpsman Class A School, Preventive Medicine Technician Class C School, and dozens of certification courses related to medicine, safety, public health, etc. Attended some classes at Florida State College Jacksonville.

What was your first job?

US Navy, 1990-2010.

Significant other? Kids?

My wife Nicole and I have been married for 16 years. We have one son (13), and I have a step-son (23).

Did you speak with anybody in your political party before deciding on running? Receive any encouragement?

I spoke with several members of the executive committee of the Libertarian Party of Florida on a casual basis. I have received nothing but support.

Who do you count on for advice?

I have a wide network of friends who are active in local and state political activism. As a native of Florida and veteran I have a lot of close friends and family who will not sugarcoat the observations and opinions. 

Who is your political consultant? Campaign manager?

I will be bringing in a volunteer campaign manager in the near future.

Who was the first person to contribute to your campaign? Why did they donate?

Vice Chair of the Libertarian Party of Florida at the time. He has been a candidate previously and a friend for years.

Who, if anyone, inspires you in state government?

Unfortunately, very few people. Rep. Anthony Sabatini has been good on the Second Amendment and ending marijuana prohibition. Rep. Anna Eskamani, although I disagree with her on most issues, seems to be very available to her constituents and more directly involved in her community. Gov. Ron DeSantis has been much better than I expected.

Why do people mistrust elected officials and what are you going to do about it?

I believe most people just want to be left alone to live their lives as they see fit and they see politicians as unable to relate to their lives. I’m more than willing to leave people alone while being readily available in the community.

What are 3 issues that you’re running on?

– Lowering health care costs through price transparency, repealing Certificate of Need Laws, complete decriminalization of cannabis so decisions can be made between patients and doctors, and protecting the doctor/patient relationship.

– Criminal justice reform through eliminating mandatory minimum sentencing, repealing victimless crime laws, ending qualified immunity for law enforcement, requiring personal liability insurance for law enforcement officers, ending civil asset forfeiture, and prohibiting participation in the 1033 program.

– Repeal state laws restricting the purchase, ownership, and carrying of firearms and other weapons.

What is a “disruptive” issue you are interested in?

Direct primary care.

What does your legislative district need from Tallahassee?

Less interference in our lives from the state and federal government.

Who was the best governor in Florida’s modern history?

Buddy MacKay. I feel he did the least amount of damage. Gov. Ron DeSantis has been doing a better than expected job and might capture that spot.

If you could amend the Florida Constitution, what would you change?

I would add the text of the Right of Adults to Cannabis proposed amendment.

Are yard signs an important part of campaigning in your district?

I will make signs available, but they are not central to my campaign.

What’s the first thing you read each morning?

Whatever I feel like reading. I don’t have a go-to resource. 

Where do you get your political news?

FloridaPolitics.com. Only FloridaPolitics.com. If I needed any other source it would be from multiple mainstream and independent news outlets including local, national, and international.

Social media presence? Twitter handle?

– Instagram: @KWilley18

– Twitter: @KenWilley18

In 280 characters, what’s a Tweet that best describes your campaign message?

One-size-fits-all solutions don’t work and I don’t know what is best for you. You own yourself and the fruits of your labor. 

Hobbies?

Reading, travel, food, and politics.

Favorite sport and sports team?

I used to follow local minor league teams years ago. With the replacement of Wolfson Park and the old Veterans Memorial in Jacksonville games just don’t have the same atmosphere.

Jason Delgado

Jason Delgado covers news out of the Florida State Capitol. After a go with the U.S. Army, the Orlando-native attended the University of Central Florida and earned a degree in American Policy and National Security. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. He'd love to hear from you. You can reach Jason by email ([email protected]) or on Twitter at @byJasonDelgado.



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Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Jason Delgado, Renzo Downey, Daniel Figueroa, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Kelly Hayes, Joe Henderson, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Andrew Wilson, Mike Wright, and Tristan Wood.

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