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Who's Who?

It’s time-consuming to research everyone on your ballot — so we researched the biggest names for you. Here’s what you need to know.

Florida will have a pivotal role in deciding which political candidates will win the 2020 election. Here's a quick informative guide on the major candidates that you'll see on the ballot. Below is a list of major party candidates running for election in each district that includes a historically black college or university in Florida. There’s a short biography and their major platform issues.

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U.S. House of Representatives, District:   5 6 24 27
State Senate, District:   5 27


U.S. House of Representatives, District 5 (includes FAMU & Edward Waters College)

Incumbent: Alfred Lawson

Alfred Lawson (D)

About

Alfred Lawson, an alumnus of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU), has served the state legislature in some form for 28 years, according to his website. His alma mater named their multipurpose center in his honor back in 2009. Lawson is known for authorization of one of the country's most important environmental laws, Preservation 2000, which generated the largest U.S. state-funded land acquisition program.

Issues

Alfred Lawson’s campaign website
• Affordable healthcare for all citizens.
• College affordability for students.
• Services for our nation's veterans.
• The eradication of hunger for all families.

Gary Adler (R)

About

Gary Adler is a 60-year-old Jacksonville businessman. The local community leader is laboriously involved within the Jacksonville community by engaging with various organizations and charities. His involvement includes Ronald McDonald House, Wolfson’s Children’s Hospital, Tim Tebow Foundation and many more. Born in Atlanta, Alder moved to Jacksonville, Florida, and graduated from Jacksonville University. After college, he pursued entrepreneurship by owning and managing several businesses within the city.

Issues

Gary Adler’s campaign website
• Improving educational systems
• Reducing health care costs.
• Funding for border security and national defense.
• Lowering taxes.
• Growing the economy.


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U.S. House of Representatives, District 6 (includes Bethune-Cookman University)

Incumbent: Micheal Waltz

Clinton Curtis (D)

About

Clinton Curtis is an attorney who established the Law Offices of Clint Curtis & Associates to ensure that disabled citizens receive the benefits they deserve. The Illinois native practices immigrratin law, military law, and social security disability law. Curtis has also served local community groups to help restore civil rights and professionals in “The Soldiers Project,” which provided much-needed assistance to those in the military. Curtis graduated from Illinois State University and Barry University School of Law.

Issues

Clinton Curtis’s campaign website
• Expanding affordable healthcare.
• Increasing social security income for seniors
• Having voters being properly counted.
• Providing fair care evaluations for veterans

Michael Waltz (R)

About

Michael Waltz is a former Fox News contributor and combat-decorated Green Beret. Born in Boynton Beach, FL, and raised in Jacksonville, FL, Waltz served 21 years in the U.S. Army to the rank of Lt. Colonel after he graduated from the Virginia Military Institute. Waltz also served as an adviser and policy director for counterterrorism in the White House and the Pentagon during the Bush administration.

Issues

Micheal Waltz’s website
• Preserving and improving Florida’s pristine natural resources.
• Improving the immigration system.
• Reducing the tax burden on working families.
• Advocating for more resources for military services.


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U.S. House of Representatives, District 24 (includes Florida Memorial University)

Incumbent: Frederica S. Wilson

Frederica S. Wilson (D)

About

Frederica Wilson is a former educator whose career in politics started with the Miami-Dade County School Board in 1992. Wilson is known for her trademark cowboy hat and for being one of the foremost voices pining for the removal of the State Capitol building in 2001.

Issues

Frederica Wilson’s website
• Developing right and justified laws
• Reduce gender-based violence in Haiti
• Having affordable housing within the district.

Lavern Spicer (R)

About

Lavern Spicer, a North Carolina native, runs a food bank that provides for an estimated 5,000 families each month. Having spent almost two decades as a foster parent, Spicer prides herself on caring for some of the state’s most vulnerable children

Issues

Lavern Spicer’s website
• Improving economic conditions in inner-city Miami.
• Reaffirming Second Amendment rights.
• Disavowing reparations for Black Americans in any form.


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U.S. House of Representatives, District 27 (includes Florida Memorial University)

Incumbent: Donna Shalala

Donna Shalala (D)

About

A lifelong Democrat, Donna Shalala was the former president at the University of Miami. Appointed by former President Bill Clinton, Shalala served as the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). She became the longest-serving HHS Secretary in U.S. history for her eight years of service. Born and raised in Cleveland, Shalala graduated from Western College for Women with an undergraduate history degree. According to her website, her grandparents were migrants from Lebanon and moved to the U.S. to pursue the “American Dream.”

Issues

Donna Shalala’s website
• Increase access to health care
• Protect senior citizens from employment discrimination
• Maintain a clean and sustainable environment

Maria Elvira Salazar (R)

About

Maria Elvira Salazar is a news anchor for CNN Español, the first-ever major news network to broadcast entirely in Spanish. Salazar was born in Miami’s Little Havana to Cuban parents, who emigrated to America. Salazar received an undergraduate degree from the University of Miami and earned a graduate degree from Harvard University. Her professional experience includes working as a television journalist, reporter and news anchor, where she interviewed a wide range of social and political leaders, including former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

Issues

Maria Salazar’s campaign website
• Protect the Miami coastline
• Push for politicians to have term limits
• Creating more jobs for minorities


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State Senate, District 5 (includes FAMU & Edward Waters College)

Neither are incumbent

Melina Rayna Barratt (D)

About

Florida native Melina Rayna Barratt is a local activist for LGBTQ+ rights and the first-ever transgender woman to run for state senate. According to her website, the Democrat graduated from Edison Community College with an Associate of Arts degree and a focus in Political Science. The activist is currently undergoing thyroid cancer and she proudly proclaims on her website that cancer is not going to hinder her from running her political race.

Issues

Melina Barratt’s campaign website
• Advocating for LGBTQ+ rights
• Protecting the Florida environment
• Increasing funding for Florida school systems

Jennifer Bradley (R)

About

Jennifer Bradley is a small local business owner. The conservative Republican owns Hibernia Property Management, Inc., a commercial rental company in Orange Park. She graduated from the University of Florida with a criminology degree and later earned a Juris Doctor from Florida State University College of Law. According to her website, she served as a staff attorney for the Fourth Judicial Circuit judges, while studying law.

Issues

Article about Jennifer Bradley (no issues on campaign website)
• Supporting small businesses
• Creating jobs opportunities


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State Senate, District 27 (includes Florida Memorial University)

Neither are incumbent

Rachel Brown (D)

About

Rachel Brown is “the environmental candidate.” Born in Naples, Florida, the political candidate has served on the board of Lee County Rights of Nature, achieved a certification in Forest Gardening and organized around climate action, according to her website. Brown wants to provide Florida with a legal right to clean air and clean water. According to Ballotpedia, she was asked to run for Florida Senate by the Democratic Environmental Caucus of Florida, while working on her bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering.

Issues

Rachel Brown’s campaign website
• Providing Floridians with a legal right to clean air and water
• Creating a livable wage and affordable housing
• Improving construction, security, and safety of Florida’s roads

Ray Rodrigues (R)

About

Ray Rodrigues is a lifelong Republican, who served as the Vice-Chair of the Lee County Republican Party. Ray earned a bachelor's degree from Berry College in Rome, Georgia, and he received his master’s degree in public administration from Florida Gulf Coast University. According to his website, his commitment to conservative values enabled him to receive awards and be recognized by fellow advocates, such as the Florida Chamber of Commerce Honor Roll and the Foundation of Government Accountability's Champion of Children Award.

Issues

Ray Rodrigues’ website
• Restoring and preserving water quality
• Having an open and transparent government
• Lowering taxes


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