Republican Nate Robertson to push charter schools, economy in HD 40 run

Nate Robertson
'People should be free to make decisions for themselves, for their family.'

Republican Nate Robertson has switched his candidacy to House District 40, declaring that his campaign will focus on increasing school choice and economic development in the predominantly low-income Orange County communities.

Robertson is running on a personal freedom and economic empowerment platform. That starts, he said, with more freedom and options for parents in education, through efforts to encourage the development of more charter and magnet schools in the region.

“You know, when you think about the area of Pine Hills, there aren’t a whole lot of options besides the public school system. So I’m wanting to make sure that we’re focusing on what are the best options,” Robertson said, emphasizing his campaign’s top priority.

“Second would be personal freedom. People should be free to make decisions for themselves, for their family,” he said. “And third is really about small business development — and really all business development — making sure that we are really supporting new business growth in our community.”

Under redistricting, the new map has HD 40 covering a swath of northwestern Orange including Ocoee, Pine Hills, Clarcona and several west Orlando communities including College Park. The district has a mix of working-class neighborhoods and trendy urban enclaves, yet there is a high poverty level.

HD 40 has one of the largest African American populations in Orange County, and an overwhelming Democratic base. That area is mostly represented now by Democratic Rep. Kamia Brown, who is running for the Senate.

Democratic candidate LaVon Bracy Davis of Ocoee also has refiled there. Democrat Melissa S. Myers of Clarcona may follow, moving her candidacy from HD 45.

Robertson, originally from New York, is a strategic account manager for a medical distribution company that seeks to provide access to free medicines for people who cannot afford prescriptions. He is also a licensed Christian minister, and married with two children.

He is a newcomer to politics. In his first three months after filing in HD 45, he raised about $10,800. Bracy had raised about $25,500, and Myers about $13,700.

He noted that the Democrats who’ve represented the area — Brown and Sen. Randolph Bracy — have little power in the Republican-run Legislature, and suggested a Republican could bring more help.

“As I’ve looked around this community for the last two-plus years, I’m just concerned that there hasn’t been a lot of focus and attention on this area and on these communities. I want to make sure there is a fresh, new voice for this community,” Robertson said.

He also spoke of “economic empowerment” as a key tool in improving the district’s quality of life.

“When you look at District 40, it has a vast array of people. In some parts of District 40, crime is a problem. We need to focus on how to reduce crime, not just from a law enforcement perspective, but from a business development perspective,” Robertson said.

“There needs to be even more of a focus toward charter or magnet type schools that are at least somewhat funded by the state to help parents afford the schools,” he added. “We want to make sure parents have reliable, high-quality options in education. For some parents that is the public school system, but not for all.”

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected].


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