Lou Holtz endorses Vennia Francois in HD 45

Lou Holtz w Vennia Francois
Francois is in a crowded field to represent the Walt Disney World area district.

College Football Hall of Fame member and America First Republican Lou Holtz has endorsed Republican Vennia Francois in House District 45.

Holtz, a Lake Nona resident of Orlando, is a former football coach in the NCAA and NFL and a commentator on CBS and ESPN. He also has been active in Republican politics for decades. He is chairman of America First Policy Institute’s Center for 1776.

Francois is a commercial transactions lawyer and former staffer to Sens. George LeMieux and Mel Martinez, Rep. John Mica, and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

She’s in a high-stakes battle for HD 45, a district covering the Walt Disney World region of southwestern Orange County and northwestern Osceola County.

“I’m so excited that someone of Vennia Francois’s caliber is running for state Representative,” Holtz said in a news release issued by Francois’ campaign. “There’s no doubt in my mind that she believes in the power of the American Dream and is committed to governing by the constitutional principles that made this nation great.”

Francois has twice run for Congress, losing a Republican Primary Election in 2018 and in a General Election in 2020.

“I could not be more honored to have earned the endorsement and support of Coach Holtz,” Francois said in the news release. “He is a living legend who loves America and believes in American exceptionalism. His work at AFPI’s Center for 1776 ‘aims to promulgate American values in our education institutions.’ I welcome their work.”

Among other Republicans running in HD 45 are Carolina AmestyJanet Frevola, Bruno Portigliatti and Mike Zhao.

HD 45 includes Walt Disney World, Windermere, part of Winter Garden, Champions Gate, Reunion, and part of the Four Corners area. In the last two General Elections, the precincts that now make up HD 45 voted Democrat, though by narrow margins.

Allie Braswell is the only Democrat filed there thus far.

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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