Gallop Franklin II, a Tallahassee pharmacist and Florida A&M University (FAMU) professor, is the first candidate to file for the House District 8 race after Rep. Ramon Alexander dropped his re-election bid amid sexual harassment allegations.
HD 8 is one of Florida’s majority-Black districts, where Black residents make up over 50% of voters. It consists of all of Gadsden County and portions of Tallahassee and Leon County. The last contested race for the seat was in 2016, where Alexander won in a four-way contest.
Franklin, who was born and raised in Tallahassee, was FAMU student body president from 2009-2011. He is also a former FAMU board of trustees member, former vice-chair for the Florida Board of Governors and Gubernatorial fellow under Charlie Crist when he attended college.
This is not the first time Franklin has sought public office. He applied for the vacant Tallahassee City Commission seat in 2018 after Scott Maddox was removed from the seat by a Rick Scott executive order following Maddox’s indictment.
He told Florida Politics his family moved to Midway, Florida in the mid-1800s and have lived in the area ever since. He said he decided to run because he wants to make sure Leon and Gadsden counties are represented by the right kind of leader who understands their communities.
“Because of the experiences that I’ve had over my lifetime, the people that I’ve come across, and the communities in which I grew up, I’m very much in touch with the challenges our communities face,” Franklin said. “I also understand how to navigate the landscape at the Capitol, to be impactful when it comes to bringing home resources for infrastructure, and education programs to ensure that we are cultivating a community that’s promoting social mobility.”
Franklin said education is at the forefront of his policy priorities. He said education is the key to fight poverty, and that work needs to be done to shift the state’s education system to provide more specialized education to fit children’s needs.
“Education is a cornerstone to social mobility,” Franklin said. “Our current education system was designed a long time ago. We really need to take a really hard look at redesigning our educational system that’s not one-shoe-fits-all and believes that we should send hundreds of thousands of children to the same type of institution, but that they’re going to be able to grow uniquely to be the best versions of themselves.”
He also said he wants to fight poverty in the district by bringing more job opportunities and boosting education. He said additional industry needs to be brought to the area and a stronger support network for small businesses needs to be supported to bring the type of jobs people need.
“I’ve never met a drug dealer before that said to me they enjoy selling drugs because they’re passionate about it,” Franklin said. “The reason why crime happened is because of the educational and job opportunities that are not available for certain communities.”