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Florida Senate District 7

District covers St. Johns, Flagler and part of Volusia counties

Five Florida Senate districts cover all of Northeast Florida
Five Florida Senate districts cover all of Northeast Florida

There was no primary challenges, so the race of Democrat Heather Hunter to unseat incumbent Republican Travis Hudson will appear on the November ballot. Write-in candidate Richard Dembinsky also qualified.

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

  DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE

Heather Hunter

Party affiliation: Democrat

Age: 22

Candidate’s family: (no answer)

Occupation: Sales associate

Education: Bachler of Arts in Political Science and a minor in Pre-Law from Flagler College

Political experience: President of Flagler College democrats for 2 years, President of Florida College Democrats for 1 year, and interned at the Democratic Environmental Caucus of Florida

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

  • Expanding the federally funded Medicaid Expansion to give 800,000 Floridians healthcare and pumping $14 billion into our economy
  • Create a new unemployment system that works and ensure that the 900,000+ Floridians waiting for benefits receive all payments since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the state in March
  • Expanding environmental protection. Ensuring Floridians have a right to clean air and water and ensuring that Florida is carbon negative by 2030.

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

First of all, we can be contacted directly. Our opponent Travis Hutson does not have Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. His campaign website hasn’t been updated since 2016. His district and capital offices are closed and haven’t responded to our emails in over 3 weeks.

Secondly, we actually look like the voters in our district. Hutson has a $7 million net worth 72x higher than the average American. I’m in student loan debt and I’m working at a pet store I understand what it’s like to be in the working class and I intend to bring working people’s issues to light in Tallahassee.

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

I want to be remembered as someone who stood for what was right even if it was hard or unpopular. I want to be remembered for being the voice for the voiceless and making sure working-class issues like healthcare are addressed in Tallahassee.

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

Our camapaign has a full plan for criminal justice reform located here: https://www.heatherhunter4sd7.com/criminal-justice

Here are our main issues: End mandatory minimums; Ban private prisons; Holding police officers accountable; End Cash Bail; Abolish the death penalty; Decriminalize all drugs; Ending solitary confinement

Our campaign stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matters protests both here in our district and around the world. Black Lives do Matter and its time District 7 had a leader that said that. My campaign manager has also be involved in organizing and participating in BLM protests in St. Augustine.

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

COVID-19 has removed the face to face aspect of campaigning. I'm not able to shake hands and meet the people of my distinct in person. However, we are doing everything we can to reach out to our constituents through social media. Will soon begin phone banking and text banking operations and will need volunteers. We're hoping that with help from news organizations like you we will be able to get our message out and rally our constituents to vote for a better future for Florida.

Campaign website: www.heatherhunter4sd7.com

Campaign’s social media pages: Facebook | Twitter

  REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE

Travis Hudson

Party affiliation: Republican

Age: 35

Candidate’s family: Tanya Hutson (wife) Taylor, Tyler, Turner (Children)

Occupation: Vice President of Hutson Companies (real estate)

Education: Lafayette College (BA)

Political experience: Florida House 2012-2015 Florida Senate 2015- Present

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

  1. Economy
  2. Education
  3. Healthcare

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

Experience is important and the Senate is not a place where one should seek on the job training. I have life, work, and political experience in order to best represent the needs of my district.

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

I am extremely proud of the changes I have made in the k-12 education world. We now have two pathways for graduations. One for college bound children and one for vocational or career ready children.

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

I believe it is important on any legislation to work across the aisle and find common ground. While I do not believe we should defund any law enforcement organization, I will certainly entertain thoughts and discussions on how we can help police accomplish their job.

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

Like all sectors of private and public employment in Florida, Covid has made things difficult. Outside of social distancing and safety protocols our offices have had to adjust to constituent services. I have pulled staff from policy and research and have them solely focused on helping people with their various needs.

Campaign website: electhutson.com

Campaign’s social media pages: none