📜 2022 O-Town election selection guide

We’re almost there, folks. This election cycle will wrap up in just a few weeks, mercifully freeing us from grimacing through unhinged political ads.

SO GO VOTE! And know your ballot! Orlando is a big city and this guide is digging into the info on the front-runners in the race, so be sure to pull up a sample ballot for your voting precinct.

Hitting the ground running with a note before ya vote:

Vote411 breaks down the way voting has changed in Florida and is a great resource on any part of the process whether you’re a pro or this is your first time. If you live in an area where you may be worried about intimidation at the polls, note that 1) that’s illegal! and 2) there’s a state hotline you can call (1-866-OUR-VOTE [687-8683])) if you witness untoward behavior or potential voter fraud on Election Day.

As time is running out to make informed decisions about the future of our city, state, and country, let’s get down to political business. 👇

A sample is only a taste of the real thing, get your full fix Nov. 8.  l Tag either #pulptown or @pulptown to be featured. (📸:OCF Elections)

🤿 Deep-diving the Amendments

Florida Amendment 1, Disregard Flood Resistance Improvements in Property Value Assessments Measure (2022) authorizes the state to pass laws prohibiting flood resistance improvements to homes from being taken into consideration when determining property taxes. A YES VOTE: would stop taxation on flood prevention measures conducted on properties. A NO VOTE: allows flood resistance improvements to continue being taken into consideration. To read more about the measure and potential effects 👉 click here.

Florida Amendment 2, Abolish the Constitution Revision Commission Measure (2022). The Florida Constitution Revision Commission is a 37-member commission that meets every 20 years to propose changes to the state’s constitution and refer them to the statewide ballot for voter approval or rejection. A YES VOTE: would disband the CRC. A NO VOTE: would keep the commission running. To find out more about what the CRC does 👉 click here or 👉 here.

Florida Amendment 3, Additional Homestead Property Tax Exemption for Certain Public Service Workers Measure (2022) provides an additional homestead property tax exemption on $50,000 of assessed value on property owned by certain public service workers. A YES VOTE: gives a limited set of public service workers a $50,000 tax exemption. A NO VOTE: changes nothing. To read about the workers to which the exemption applies as well as the potential consequences and long term effects in the tax deficient it could create 👉 click here.

Orange County, Florida, Transportation System Surtax, 1% Tax for Transportation Funding Measure (November 2022). This measure would increase the sales tax by 1% in Orange Country for the next 20 years. The 1% will be deposited into a trust fund dedicated exclusively to transportation and transit improvement uses. A YES VOTE: would increase sales tax by 1% A NO VOTE: would change nothing. To read more details about how the money will be handled, what projects it will go towards, and potential effects 👉 click here. 

Orange County, Florida, Rent Stabilization Ordinance, Limit Rent Increases for Certain Residential Units Measure (November 2022). This temporarily limits rent increases for certain residential rental situations to the consumer price index. A YES VOTE: would limit rent increase for certain multifamily structures for one year. A NO VOTE: would change nothing. To read more details about the measure and about what specific types of residences this applies to 👉 click here.

To read these amendments explained by a different source, click here.

☀️ Statewide elections

🇺🇸 Senate

Marco Rubio (R) – Incumbent. Positions held: Senator since 2011. Vice Chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence, a senior member of the Committee on Foreign Relations, and a member of the Committee on Appropriations and Special Committee on Aging. His platform focuses are: immigration, housing, family policies, defense issues, offshore drilling, China, the Everglades, disaster recovery, small business, and veteran affairs. GovTrack and the Center for Effective Lawmaking ranked Rubio the Senate’s number two leader and most effective Republican in 2020. To read more about Rubio, click herehere, or here! (Ballotpedia)

Val Demings (D) – Challenger. Positions held: US Representative 2016, 27 Years with Orange County Police Department, four years as Chief of OCPD, Member of the Comittee on Homeland Secuirty, Vice Chair of the Subcomittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Secutiry, and Investigation, and member of the Permanent Select Comittee on Intelligence. Demmings campaign focuses on jobs and the economy, health care, housing, environmental issues, public safety, and national security. To read more about Demings click herehere, and here! (Ballotpedia)

A missing piece from so many election guides, the facts of which are obfuscated by attack ads, is how candidates voted on important legislation and whether that’s in alignment with your interests, beliefs, etc. When we boil it all down, that’s the main reason to elect someone, is it not? To represent your interests in D.C. and vote accordingly?

If you agree, scroll down this page to the section titled Key Votes and you can see how Marco Rubio voted on key congressional legislation in 2021. You can view Val Demings’ yeas or nays of 2021 on this page.

🏛 Congress – U.S. House Florida District 10

Maxwell Frost (D) – Relevant Experience – Local leader for local voter programs, former national organizing director for March for Our Lives, national organizer with the ACLU where he fought for abortion rights and led the charge to restore the voting rights of 1.6 million Floridians who had previous felony convictions. His campaign focuses on ending gun violence, health care for all, environmental justice, reimagining the criminal legal system, legalizing marijuana, and decriminalizing sex work. To read more about his campaign and why Frost is connecting well with Gen Z, click here 👉. (Elite Daily)

Calvin Wimbish (R) – Relevant Experience – Decorated Retired Green Beret Colonel with career experience as a sales manager and JROTC instructor.  Wimbish’s platform focuses on defending the Bill of Rights, upholding 1st & 2nd Amendments, voting integrity, closing open borders, protect power grid, funding military and law enforcement, infra-structure, tax reduction, enhancing anti-abortion laws and elderly to ending health mandates and “critical race theory” and stand strong with allies like Israel who seek liberty and true peace and prosperity. To read more about his military experience and views, click here 👉. (Ballotpedia)

These candidates are polar opposites of one another. To read more about their opposing views, check out this article from Orlando Sentinel.

🏛 Attorney General

The Attorney General’s responsibilities include protecting Floridians from fraud, defending the state in civil litigation — including challenges to the constitutionality of state laws — and representing the people of Florida against criminals appealing their convictions in state or federal court.

Ashley Moody (R) – Positions held: Incumbent since 2019. Served as judge for the 13th Judicial Circuit Court in Florida from 2007 to 2017, Commissioner on the Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice, Chair of Florida’s Statewide Task Force on Opioid Abuse, and Chair of Florida’s Statewide Council on Human Trafficking. Moody has used her position to create awareness about the dangers of fentanyl, crack down on human trafficking and cyber crimes, and pursue class-action lawsuits against companies over opioids. Read more here 👉. (Click Orlando)

Aramia Ayala (D) – Positions held and experience: The Florida Ninth Judicial Circuit State Attorney from 2017 – 2022. Assistant State Attorney for the 9th Circuit from 2014-2016, and Assistant Public Defender for 9th Judicial circuit from 2004 – 2013. Recipient of NAACP Civil Rights Champion of Justice Award. Ayala’s platform will be focused on protecting constitutional rights, public safety, and criminal justice reform. During her time in office, she has championed civil citations instead of punishment for non-violent first-time juvenile offenders, a coalition for domestic abuse and child abuse and established a low-income bail fund, and created a conviction integrity board. Learn more here 👉. (WUFT)

💰Florida Chief Financial Officer

This position oversees the Florida Department of Financial Services, a conglomeration of state agencies including the Departments of Insurance, Treasury, State Fire Marshal, and Banking & Finance.

Jimmy Patronis (R) – Incumbent – Positions Held – Appointed by Rick Scott to the Florida Constitution Revision Committee from 2015 to 2017. FL State Representative from 2006–2014. Florida State Fire Marshal.  Patronis’s sponsored legislation includes: Health Care Management, Support for the State of Israel, Prohibition of Gambling, Bay City Tourist Development. To learn more about Patronis and his sponsored bills and their success, click here 👉.(MyFloridaHouse)

Adam Hatterslay (D) – Challenger – Positions Held – FL House Representative for the 59th District from 2018–2020. Local Administration Subcommittee, Criminal Justice Subcommittee, Gaming Control Subcommittee, Nuclear Submarine Officer for 8 years. Hattersley’s platform focuses on fighting for affordable healthcare, passing and expanding the ACA, reaching a path to carbon net neutrality by 2035, and raising minimum wage to $15/hour. To learn more about Adam click here: (AdamforFlorida)

The Tallahassee Democrat has a brief Q&A with both candidates in addition to listing basic biographical info and qualifications.

🌱Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services

This position was most recently “made famous” by former ag Commissioner Nikki Fried, who vacated the seat to challenge Charlie Crist for the Democratic nominee for governor. Though the job title doesn’t suggest it, this person heads up the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Things that fall outside of agriculture but within this official’s purview include firearm licenses, regulation of charitable organizations, and inspection of gas stations (you’ll see their sticker on the pump when you fill up).

Naomi Blemur (D) – Positions Held: Democratic Executive Committee for Miami-Dade District 15, Vice-Chair of the North Miami Commission for Women, Commissioner on the North Miami Planning Commission, and member on the North Miami Community Redevelopment Advisory Committee. Her goals include advocating for small farmers, clean water, renewable & sustainable energy, and ensuring equitable access to all the resources of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Learn more about her 17 sustainable goals here. 👉 (Naomi Blemur)

Wilton Simpson (R) – Positions Held: FL State Senate for District 10 from 2016 – 2022, FL State Senate for District 18 from 2012 – 2016. FL Senate majority leader from 2016 to 2018. Simpsons campaign focuses on The Right to Farm Act, strengthening FL’s greenbelt protections, advocating for citrus growers, and supporting agritourism. To learn more, click here. 👉 (Wilton Simpson)

🇺🇸 Governor

This position is the head of the executive branch and the highest state office in Florida.

Ron DeSantis (R) – Incumbent – Positions Held: House of Representatives for the 6th District from 2012 – 2016, Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security, member of the Committees on Foreign Affairs, the Judiciary, Oversight and Government Reform. Desantis has built his platform around protecting gun rights, banning sanctuary protections for undocumented immigrants, stopping pollution, growing the economy, election integrity, and being the making FL the most Veteran Friently and Pro-Military State. Despite his “success” DeSantis has repeatedly come under fire for his handling of COVID-19, his stance on aborion, and his interests in running for the 2024 Presidency. (Ron DeSantis)

Charlie Crist (D) – Challenger – Positions Held: FL’s 44th Governor from 2007-2011. FL House Representative for the 13th District from 2007–2011.  FL Attorney General from 2003–2007, FL State Senate from 1993–1999. Committee Member of House on Appropriations. Crist has helped pass bills like the American Rescue Plan 0f 2021, COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, SAFE Banking Act, and Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. For more of his bills, click here. Crist’s campaign focuses on defending reproductive rights, protecting voter rights, clean water for all, expanding provisions for senior citizens, reducing gun violence, cannabis reform, affordable housing, and creating better conditions for those with disabilities. To learn more click here 👉. (Charlie Crist)

Takeaways from the one and only debate we got for critical election. 👉 (New York Times)

📜 Lieutenant Governor of Florida

This position is the second ranking officer of the executive branch and the first officer in line to succeed the Governor of Florida.

Jeanette Nuñez (R) – Incumbent – Positions Held: FL House of Representatives for District 119 from 2010–2018. Member of the FL Constitution Revision Commission in 2017. Nuñez was a district-level delegate to the 2016 Republican National Convention from FL. She was 1 of 99 delegates from Florida who pledged to support Donald Trump. Nuñez is passionate about working on womens issues, helping victims of sexual abuse and trafficking, and developing relations with the Latin American community. (My Florida House)

Karla Hernandez (D) – Challenger – Relevant Experience: Current President of the United Teachers of Dade since 2016, FEA Governance Board, the Education Fund Executive Board, Chairperson of the AFT Women’s Rights Committee and Vice President of AFT. Hernandez plans on assisting Crist on restoring voting rights, reducing gun violence, marajuana reform, implementing protections for women’s reproductive rights, reversing legislation that limits voting access, reducing pollution runoff, and other issues. For more information, click here. 👉 (Charlie Crist)

✒️ Florida State Senate District 17

Linda Stewart (D) – Incumbent – Positions Held: FL House of Representatives for District 47 from 2012 – 2014. Former board member of Orange County Parks and Recreation Board, the City of Orlando Parks Board, and the Library Governance Board. Stewart’s platform revolves around job creation, access to education, clean energy and environmental initiatives, green technology, and equality for all. Read more here 👉. (Linda Stewart for Senate)

Steve Dixon (R) – Challenger – Relevant Experience: Dixon served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1981 to 1985 and has career experience working as a defense contractor. A strong conservative, Dixon’s campaign focuses on God First, Pro Life, family values,parent involvement in education, lower taxes, affordable healthcare, food security, religious liberty, and reducing homelessness.  Meet Steve here 👉.(Vote Steve Dixon)

⚖️ Florida House of Representatives District 42

Anna Eskamani (D) – Incumbent – Positions Held: FL House of Representative for District 47, Member of: Local, Federal & Veterans Affairs Subcommittee, Oversight, Transparency & Public Management Subcommittee, PreK-12 Quality Subcommittee, and Ways & Means Committee. Her policy work includes public education, community safety, environmental protection, health care access, tax policy, economic equity, affordable housing, small business relief, equality and funding for arts and culture along with supporting our veterans and survivors of sexual assault. She is also an advocate for women’s rights, LGBTQ+ equality, immigrants, and people of color. (Anna for Florida)

Bonnie Jackson (R) – Challenger – Relevant Experience: Director for the Board of Advocates for South Texas College of Law. Assistant District Attorney. Chair of the Orlando Grievance Committee 9E of the Florida Bar, Board of Directors for UCP Child Development Centers. Jackson focuses on curtailing Federal mandates, protecting citizens from illegal immigration, protecting parental rights in schools and curriculum, protecting seniors, protecting biological females, and protecting the unborn. Read about her platform here 👉. (Jackson for Florida)

Orange County Offices

⛲️Soil and Water Conservation District District 4

Karolyn Campbell (Nonpartisan) – Incumbent – Positions Held: Orange County Soil and Water Conservation District for District 2, Vice President of the Federally Employed Women Central Florida Area Chapter, appointed by Mayor Jerry Demings on the Orange County Disability Advisory Board. Cambell is passionate about conservation education, advocacy, updated legislation, and accountability. Her campaign goals are effective soil and material management, water collection and recycling, effective reduction, recycling, and disposal or waste.

Vicente Perez (Nonpartisan) – Challenger  – Relevant Experience: Legal Coordinator for the NPO Casa de Venezuela Orlando from 2018 – Present, former President of the Venezuelan-American Chamber of Commerce, Central Florida Chapter from 2002-2004, and former President of Made in Venezuela Business Club from 2019-2021. Perez’s focus is on local public policy, accountability, budget, conservation, infrastructure improvements, and protecting immigrant workers and farm communities in Orange County.

📚Orange County School Board District 3

Michael Daniels (Nonpartisan) – Relevant Experience: Chair for Business & Computer Science programs at Eastern Florida State College, PhD in Higher Education Leadership from Nova Southeastern University. Educational Specialist in Computing Technology in Education from NSU. Husband to an Orange County teacher, Daniels is focused on diversity & inclusion, teacher pay, teacher retention, and increasing mental health support and resources. Read more about him here.

Alicia K. Farrant (Nonpartisan) – Relevant Experience: Mother of 5. She and her husband have been doing missionary work in Central America for 21 years. She is also the VP of their non-profit, Impact Nations. Farrant plans on getting back to the basics by enhancing curriculum transparency, advocating for trade schooling, focusing on discipline, keeping the government out of the classroom, and removing books that allude, illustrate, or define sexual activity explicitly.

🧑‍⚖️ Looking into the Court

Our justices are first appointed by the Governor, so in this election, voters get to decide to keep or remove the judge in a retention vote. As these seats are often the final say in many of the critical decisions of our state’s future, it goes without saying (but we are going to say it again anyways), please don’t cast a retention vote without consideration.

We are gonna point this guide to Voting for Justice, which is a fantastic resource that deep dives into the justices seeking a seat this election. By nature of the position, justices are often not party-affiliated — though that is not the case with several of ours seeking retention this election.

Things to consider beyond party affiliation as they do not run against other candidates: Who they were appointed by, their experience/background, memberships to extreme groups or affiliations, and lastly, give a read to some of their candidate case rulings to see if it aligns with your values.

So before bubbling in this State Supreme Court and District Appellate court justice vote, make sure to do your homework!

☝️ One more thing

In 2020, many municipalities made mail-in voting and ballot drop-off sites accessible to mitigate the spread of COVID. However, false narratives of widespread election fraud have spurred conservative majorities to narrow the window for vote-by-mail and other forms of early voting. Remember that intimidation at the polls is  illegal! and) that hotline to call is (1-866-OUR-VOTE [687-8683])) if you witness untoward behavior or potential voter fraud on Election Day.

So, this concludes this bubble-ballot-bonanza.

We hope it’s a helpful resource in making informed-voting decisions as the consequences are shared not only personally but also across many of our diverse communities.