Florida Rep. Ritch Workman moonlights as Uber driver


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Lobbyists and other policymakers have noticed a familiar face driving them around Florida's capital.

Rep. Ritch Workman, the Florida House's Rules Committee chairman moonlights as an Uber driver around Tallahassee.

Talking to different passengers is not so different from campaigning, Workman says.

Driving for Uber is a third job for state Workman who, along with being a part-time state legislator, is a director of business development at Keiser University. He says the added money helps support his wife and six children.

Local 10's Matt Galka tagged along Thursday night, and the first pickup was for a group of college kids celebrating a birthday.

"(It was) his 21st birthday, big night on the town, and I was a little piece of it. It was fun," said Workman.

Workman said he'd be glad to add perspective to an Uber regulation battle between ride-sharing companies and taxis, which is expected to be a hot topic in 2016's legislative session.

"Uber is making inroads on their own without state assistance in the local municipalities, and that's important. I'm not sure pre-emption is the answer you go to first," Workman said.  "It often is the one you must go to last when all local efforts have failed."

The Melbourne Republican says he doesn't see the need to regulate the dueling companies in the same way.  He said taxis were regulated to try to prevent drivers from increasing fares on unsuspecting customers, which Uber's technology makes it tough to do.

He provided one more piece of wisdom.

"Drunk dudes, when you're the sober driver, are not nearly as interesting as they think they are," Workman said.

But he said he's happy to help someone get home if they can't get behind the wheel, and keep himself out of trouble after midnight in the process.