The Gainesville based 20th district is a reliably Democratic seat that will elect a new representative this year. First time candidate Marihelen Wheeler is a newcomer to electoral politics but not to the most important issues Florida faces on a daily basis.
Wheeler has been a tireless advocate for children and schools in Alachua County, and has spent time in Tallahassee looking after the interests of those schools. Wheeler believes in holding Charter Schools and Voucher Schools accountable for the taxpayer dollars they receive- holding them to the same standards public schools are held to throughout the state.
Even though politicians don’t like to discuss it, Florida is running out of water. As we have highlighted on this website both Democrats and Republicans have put chosen to put short term “growth” above long term sustainability for our state. Wheeler sees this issue differently. Unlike other state legislative candidates, Wheeler is talking regularly about water and the importance of economic growth being reconciled with the environmental concerns.
Wheeler would be a true citizen legislator, something badly lacking in today’s Florida House. The vast majority of her contributions have come from individuals in Alachua County, not professional political operatives or lobbyists. Her opponent is Clovis Watson, a former City Manager of Alachua. Watson, who is African-American stresses job growth and helping business. Watson fits to profile of the type of Democrat elected to the State House in recent years and while he has some positive traits he is unlikely to be a strong advocate for progressive causes. Watson even switched parties to the GOP in 2006 before switching back to the Democrats a few years later.
At a time when we need a clear delineation between Republicans and Democrats on the state level, Wheeler will be a strong voice for progressive causes while Watson could further muddy the lines between the parties. Watson does have some strong traits but he faces a much stronger candidate who deserves election in this race.
The Political Hurricane endorses Marihelen Wheeler for Florida House District 20.