81ºF

Florida’s 3rd Congressional District - Democrats

Represents Alachua, Bradford, Clay, Putnam, Union counties and northern Marion County

Map of Northeast Florida's congressional districts
Map of Northeast Florida's congressional districts (Florida Senate)

Three Democrats and 10 Republicans are running for this seat that U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho is vacating after three terms representing this North Central Florida district.

Democrats in the district will choose from Adam Christensen, Phillip Dodds and Tom Wells in their primary. The winner will face whoever gets the most votes in the 10-way Republican primary in the November general election.

Ed Silva qualified as a write-in candidate in this race.

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

Tap here to read the Republican candidates’ responses

  DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES

Adam Christensen

Party affiliation: Democratic

Age: 26

Candidate’s family: No response

Occupation: Small business owner

Education: Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Hampden-Sydney College

Political experience: (no response)

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

Since the birth of this campaign, my motto has always been "for the many, not just me." This is more than just a slogan, however. This principle is at the core of my campaign, and my policies have been created accordingly. I am most passionate about solving the issues surrounding healthcare, the environment, and big money in politics.

In the midst of an infectious disease outbreak, many Americans across the district and the nation are losing their jobs and subsequently also their healthcare. This has forced many individuals not to go to the hospital when necessary for fear of unaffordable medical bills. I firmly believe that healthcare is a human right and should not be contingent on socioeconomic status or any other factors. Medicare For All is an absolute necessity, not only in difficult times like these but always. By controlling costs, managing health disparities, and ensuring that everyone has equal access to medical care, Medicare For All will guarantee that no American has to sacrifice their medical well-being because of their economic situation.

The current administration has undone environmental regulations to a dangerous extent. I am proud to have signed the No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge, promising not to take any money from any organization associated with fossil fuels. I have also signed the Green New Deal Pledge, promising to support a Green New Deal while in Congress. This is one of the first actions I intend to pursue once reaching Capitol Hill to ensure that humanity does not experience the worst effects of a warming planet. It is becoming more obvious that the state of our environment and economy must be drastically transformed. We must put priority on clean energy like wind and solar and rely far less on oil and coal. We also support a Blue New Deal that protects marine reserves and fisheries that provide for so many. By placing the focus on families and small businesses, we can create an economy that works for the working class and protects our environment at the same time.

Campaign finance reform is necessary in order to secure our democracy. Continuing to allow campaigns to be run by the few with their actions affecting the many goes against everything my campaign and I stand for. To adhere to the voices of every voter, it is important that we not only reform the way private money flows in our elections but that we also require transparency of campaign finances to voters. This means ensuring public disclosure of campaign contributions. Campaigns also need to start prioritizing marginalized and under-represented communities just as much as they prioritize wealthy donors. I believe not recognizing the need for campaign finance reform is equivalent to validating that only the opinions of voters with deep pockets matter. My platform's foundation is built on fighting for a world we can afford, where everyone is respected. Campaign finance reform is necessary in order to achieve this. When all voters' voices are heard equally, we build a society with equity and justice for all.

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

I believe that I am uniquely suited to help voters because of my capacity to empathize with constituents. Growing up in rural Indiana, I saw first-hand how financial greed can destroy individuals and communities. As a result of my own experience, my campaign is focused on dismantling the systems in place in North Central Florida that are preying on the lower and middle class. My platform is more than a list of appealing policy points; it is a conglomeration of perspectives derived from my own life.

After college, I moved to Gainesville, Florida with $3000 in my pocket and plans to start two startup companies. Both companies strive to and have been successful in catching fraud and ensuring authenticity in the natural products industry. My experience starting my own business in this district and committed efforts to root out fraud in the market has given me an ability to not only empathize with the working-class Floridians I hope to represent but also develop a profound understanding of the role corruption plays in all industries, including politics.

During a time where the disconnect between politicians seems to be ever-growing, I firmly believe that my ability to empathize with those that I represent will allow me to truly be a champion of the working class as a member of Congress.

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

I may be the face of this campaign, but each and every decision is made with the intention to protect and progress the many. Like all districts, Florida's 3rd Congressional District is deserving of a representative in office that will speak and act for the best interests of the majority of its people. While this is understood to be the fundamental role and responsibility of all members of government, it, unfortunately, has not been consistent with reality. For far too long, Florida politics have failed to account for the average worker, resulting in a growing lack of trust between people and politics. There is a blatant lack of compassion and care for human life that runs rampant throughout our government systems.

There are a number of goals I hope to accomplish while serving in office. I hope to play an integral role in pushing forward legislation concerning Medicare for All and the Green New Deal. I want to be a part of the movement to remove dark money from politics and end government corruption. But most of all, I hope to be remembered as a Congressman who simply listened to my constituents and fought for the people of North Central Florida.

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

The recent killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, and many more have brought the nation and the world's attention to the racism distinctly present in our criminal justice system. It is imperative that the government and its elected officials take immediate action to address this ignored issue. If elected, I will work to establish stricter Use of Force revisions to ensure that it is only used when there is an unequivocal need for it. Whenever force is used, the victim and police officer must have their names released within 24 hours and bodycam footage must be reviewed immediately by an unbiased organization. Perhaps more importantly, I will also require comprehensive de-escalation and inclusivity training to help police officers recognize and address their implicit biases. This training will focus not only on race, but also on sexuality, gender, wealth, and much more.

Although the recent calls for racial justice stem from acts of police brutality, racial injustices permeate throughout all aspects of society. In our communities, the criminalization of marijuana has intentionally led to the mass incarceration of many Black and Latino individuals. Substantial research shows that the enforcement of criminal penalties for marijuana possession and use is disproportionately focused on neighborhoods of color. I believe that legalizing medical and recreational marijuana to end the racism at the core of the War on Drugs is absolutely necessary, but it alone is not enough. I will also fight to vacate and expunge all past marijuana-related arrests and convictions to attempt to right some of the wrongs people of color have unjustly experienced at the hands of the War on Drugs. Moreover, I plan to use the revenue from legal marijuana to reinvest in those communities that were hit hardest by its criminalization.

Overall, my campaign's overarching goals have always been to fight for a life we can afford in a world where everyone is respected, and this cannot be accomplished without making the fight for racial justice a priority.

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

COVID-19 has thrown traditional campaigning into a flux, making it difficult to go door-to-door canvassing, and organize in-person events. Nonetheless, we are finding alternative methods to connect with our community. We have built a digital infrastructure that includes our website and social media platforms, set up a studio to create digital content, and hired a digital marketing firm to establish a plan for microtargeting rural parts of the district. I am (virtually) meeting with different organizations and individuals from around the country to talk about my campaign and our race in District 3. We have also put up hundreds of yards signs around the district and will be leaving door hangers as a replacement for canvassing. The global pandemic has made it difficult to navigate the route to the FL-03 congressional seat, but we have risen to the challenge.

Campaign website: forthemanynotjustme.com

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


Phillip Dodds

Party affiliation: Democratic

Age: 46

Candidate’s family: Married with three children. Extend family local.

Occupation: VP of Product Management for Healthcare IT company

Education: University of Florida, degree in Math and Physics

Political experience: NA

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

  • We must build a government we can trust. We can accomplish that by promoting ethics, enforcing accountability, and striving for justice.
  • We must work to create an economy that works for everyone, not just the rich and well-connected. Our economy has been configured by the wealthy to benefit the wealthy.
  • Healthcare coverage should cost less and go with us when we change or lose our jobs. I will defend Medicare and Medicaid and work to expand them so that we will keep more of our own money, live free of the fear of medical bankruptcy, and feel free to find a better job or start a new business.

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

I have lived in the area since 1995. I have a degree from the University of Florida in Math and Physics. My career has been spent in Healthcare IT, listening to customers and building complex successful solutions for them. Thousands use my products daily. Many other candidates have not really built something that really works in the real world. I will translate this experience into representing regular voters from this district.

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

Building a government that deserves our trust. Building an economy for all of us, not just the wealthy and connected. I am running to be a role model for my family and community; in office, I hope to be a role model for how Congress should vote and function.

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

We must change. It is not okay to ignore black, brown, indigenous people. They are trying to wake us up. I will listen and act. Many of our leaders want to dismiss and ignore. Let's demand equal treatment from police, let's demilitarize police and require them to deescalate first, let's support police departments get it right. Let's fund public schools and source them from other than property taxes. Let's view all budgets and new legislation through a lens of equality - is this change going raise everyone or leave some behind?

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

COVID-19 is a nightmare. It is invisible enough that some who are looking to doubt experiments have found a way to doubt. It is dangerous enough that untold numbers will be severely damaged by the disease, many will die. At the time that I write this, we are planning to loosen restrictions and open schools. I predict that within six week from now officials we will heavily reconsidering. Wearing masks will be mandatory and in door events with many people will not be allowed. Hospitals will be full. We need to sample the population regularly to get an idea of transmission rates and tighten whenever the virus surges. We need contact tracing programs in place already. Our economy will suffer until we figure this out. Wear your mask!

Campaign website: votersforphildodds.org

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


Tom Wells

Party affiliation: Democratic

Age: 69

Candidate’s family: Married; has children and grandchildren

Occupation: Engineer

Education: PhD; University of Maryland

Political experience: Started campaign for Congress in June 2016

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

Like many areas in Florida and across the nation, there are many issues impacting the people in Fl-03. The top three issues I've seen are combating poverty and homelessness, protecting the environment, and healthcare. Through my plans to support a Green New Deal and Medicare for All, I feel that this will help combat those issues and other. In addition, we still need other plans, that are on my website, to help combat all the other problems as well.

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

I set out running for Congress four years ago knowing many things that needed to be done: Medicare for All, living wages, tuition free public education from Pre-K through university or trade school, eliminating "corruption" and addressing the most critical problem of our time, the climate crisis. As I was semi-retired but tireless. I worked seven days a week, zig-zagging CD3 from protest and marches to County Commission and Stonewall Democrat meetings to festival blueberry blue crab and zucchini festivals, talking with around 45,000 people. I then went home and studied their arguments and refined my own messaging, deepening my understanding of how our many problems intersect.

I have been preparing for four years for the 2020 election in the fixed expectation that Trump would abuse and alienate his base. He has, and I have seen the changes in this district that I expected to see, in fact more positive changes than I had hoped. The messaging that I have honed is winning in New York, in Kentucky against opponents with vastly greater funding. I will arrive in DC with significantly vote-ready legislation in hand and a strategy to pass it.

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

If we collectively accomplish those things noted for in the previous question, then there is a better chance that our grandchildren will be living together in brotherhood on a healthy planet. If I have played some small part in helping to reconnect Congress to the people by getting effective public funding of elections through Congress, that will be enough for me.

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

Ayanna Pressley's House resolution re-imaging prisons as rehabilitative and Ro Khanna's bill to strip qualified immunity from police are positive steps to take. I would add to these that any police-involved assault or death be declared a federal crime, to be investigated and as warranted, prosecuted by Federal authorities. Furthermore, I believe that training must be geared toward producing a police service, not a police force.

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

By insisting that the pandemic is a state level problem, the Trump administration eliminated any possibility of tracking and containment of the pandemic during the lockdown. In addition, re-opening simply pours gas on the fire. By January, when a new Congress is seated, America will have suffered enormous damage. The challenges will be to quell the pandemic, which is a massive but simple process, while providing Medicare for All and a UBI. Then, we will attack the much larger and infinitely more dangerous problem of climate crisis. To do that, we will transform the economy by investments in renewable energy and sustainable agriculture.

Campaign website: tomwellsforcongress.com

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

Campaign website: www.tomwellsforcongress.com


View Republicans in the 3rd District race