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Florida state House District 17

District covers northern St. Johns County, from St. Johns to Ponte Vedra Beach to St. Augustine

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Incumbent Republican state Rep. Cyndi Stevenson is facing Democratic challenger Dave Rogers in this district that covers the northern half of St. Johns County.

Because there is only one candidate from each party, this race only appears on the general election ballot in November.

Scroll down to read each candidate’s responses to News4Jax’s questionnaire, presented verbatim as submitted.

  DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE

Dave Rogers

Party affiliation: Democratic

Age: 63

Candidate’s family: (no response)

Occupation: Retired

Education: BS Ocean Engineering, United States Naval Academy

Political experience: St Johns Soil and Water Conservation District 2019-2020

What do you see as the top three issues in this race?

  • Climate change/sea level rise
  • Growth management
  • Inequality

How can you help voters in a way that others running for this office cannot?

I will confront the reality of climate change and sea level rise, my opponent ignores it. I will strengthen growth management laws and support home rule, my opponent has been undermining it. I will address systemic inequality by reallocating state financial resources, my opponent ignores it.

What would you hope to be remembered for accomplishing after serving in this office?

Turning Florida around to address the challenges that confront us instead of ignoring them or kicking the can down the road.

If elected how would you address the calls for racial justice?

K-12 education, criminal justice reform, strengthening unions, expanding Medicaid, investing in marginalized communities. Climate change, like the pandemic, disproportionately impacts communities of color. Efforts to address climate change and sea level rise must begin from the standpoint protecting our most vulnerable citizens.

What challenges does COVID-19 present to the office you are seeking?

Obviously not going to have a.lot of public events, door-knocking and so on.

Campaign website: dave4florida.com

Campaign’s social media pages: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

  REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE

Cyndi Stevenson

Party affiliation: Republican (incumbent)

Age: 60

Candidate’s family: Married 37 years to my husband Henry. We have two sons who graduated from St. Johns County Public Schools and the University of Florida

Occupation: CPA and Auditor

Education: Stetson University BBA, Accounting

Political experience: County Commissioner 2004-2015 State Representative 2015-present

What do you see as the top three issues in this race?

  1. Reopening the Economy
  2. Creating a favorable business climate that gets our economy growing again and creating good paying jobs. That includes investing in our education system for opportunities today and the careers of the future.
  3. Standing for the rule of Law in our society and our institutions

How can you help voters in a way that others running for this office cannot?

To the people of Florida HD 17, I offer my lifetime of experience as a wife, mother, CPA and Public Servant. I have the knowledge, passion and courage to make sound policy and budget decisions for Florida and to look out for the challenges that are unique to our high growth county and the people of St. Johns County Home.

Each year thousands of bills are considered in the Florida Legislature on a wide arrange of issues that impact our economy an dour every day life. My understanding of our county, region and state are the results of 15 years and countless hours of personal effort as your former County Commissioner and current Representative. These are my unique qualifications to serve the people of Florida HD 17 during this time of challenge and opportunity.

What would you hope to be remembered for accomplishing after serving in this office?

Cyndi Stevenson served the people of St. Johns County with her head and her heart. She never gave up. She cared deeply about Florida’s waters and natural resources and worked to be sure that they would be enjoyed by future generations. She believed in the dignity of work, and that all Floridians should have access to a good education and skills training needed for opportunities today and the careers of the future.If elected how would you address the calls for racial justice?

I believe all people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. Too often we fall short of this in word and deed. As an elected Representative, I will continue to strive to do that. It is something all of us can do as citizens and leaders to heal our country. We are having important conversations nationally, locally and person to person. There is alot of healing to do. Listening and understanding will help us resolve issues that disproportionately hold people back.

In the Florida House, I will continue to advocate for economic opportunity, access to a good education and access to affordable quality healthcare. Improving infrastructure including broadband services, access to healthy foods, dental services. Safe places to live, exercise and raise a family are essential.

People at various points in their lives may need extra support to improve their bran health in the form of behavioral health services. This is especially true for people who have experienced trauma. Behavioral health services include counseling, mental health and substance abuse treatment. Good brain health improves physical health and sets up individuals to be part of a stronger family. It reduces the risk of domestic violence, child abuse and neglect. It helps keep families stronger and together. Improves the chances for completing school, stable employment and reduces the risk of early death or suicide. Communities in schools is another program that I support. It can improve student learning and confidence, strengthen families and communities by providing extra support and encouragement.

There is no quality of life if families and communities do not feel safe. I will advocate for and support a public saf3ety and criminal justice system that keeps our communities safe; operates with integrity and treats the accused fairly. Sheriffs and Police Chiefs need the authority to hold officers accountable who abuse their authority. The video we have seen of the George Floyd killing are appalling.

Most people who are incarcerated in state prison or local jails are returning to their communities. They need a chance to opportunities to pursue their education, get behavioral health services and skills they need to return to their communities and families and thrive.

I support our legal system having the Judges, State Attorneys and Public Defenders needed so they have the time to consider each defendant's case. This will improve the fairness of the system. The judiciary should have options such as pretrial release and diversion programs where appropriate.

What challenges does COVID-19 present to the office you are seeking?

COVID 19 presents three challenges to Florida:

a) How we re-open our economy safely during the pandemic is critical. We are learning better how to cope with the disease, but with even experts and studies coming out with conflicting information, it is important to follow the CDC guidelines. This is necessary for the sake of the health of our most vulnerable and so that our economy can continue to produce the goods and services we need and want.

b) The economic slow down that resulted from the government's slow the spread initiatives has caused an economic slow down has impacted all Floridians. It adds uncertainty to the state budget. I am well prepared to help work through our budget challenges because of my experience in the Florida House, as a Commissioner in the Great Recession and as a Certified Public Accountant.

c) Florida's unemployment system has been swamped by this event. My office continues to work with constituents on issues they are experiencing. We will need to consider changes to the system so it better serves Floridians during good times and economic downturns as well.

Campaign website: Vote4Cyndi.com

Campaign’s social media pages: Twitter