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Florida state House District 18

District covers northern half of Clay County, including Orange Park and most of Middleburg

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State Rep. Travis Cummings, who has represented this Clay County district for eight years, cannot run for re-election. Republican Sam Garrison, Democrat Leroy Anthony Edwards and Libertarian Ken Willey are running for this open seat.

Because there are no party contests, this race appears only 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

Leroy Anthony Edwards

Party affiliation: Democratic

Age: 58

Candidate’s family: Married with grown kids.

Occupation: UPS supervisor

Education: Former police Officer, Miami tech.

Political experience: First running for office.

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

  • Health Care
  • Racial Justice
  • Economic Opportunity.

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

I am able to help voters because I am out in the community on a daily basis listening to their concerns, engaging with them to develop a common understanding upon which to address problems, and bringing a sense of empathy and understanding to our community. I have confidence that when people are truly open to discussing our issues, truly open to listening to what others have to say, truly willing to understand others' hopes and fears, we will find that we have more in common than we might otherwise believe.

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

Whether a person ultimately agrees with me, I wish to be remembered as one who took the time to listen to everyone’s viewpoints and respond to all concerns with a view to bringing opportunity to the greatest number of people.

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

Racial justice can no longer be simply an aspiration. It must become a reality to those who continue to be treated unfairly. As a state, we need to ensure that police actions are truly colorblind, that economic opportunity is available to all regardless of race, gender, creed, and sexual preference, that healthcare is made available to all who need it, whether they are at the top of the economic ladder or on the bottom. The disparate impact of COVID-19 on low income and minority communities is a symptom of the gaps in the healthcare system. Each of these actions will benefit not just the minority and low income communities, but will have positive impacts for the entire community.

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

The continuing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is the key issue facing our community, both from a healthcare and an economic perspective. Greater steps need to be taken to reduce the spread of COVID-19 while not disrupting our economy. We need to encourage companies to find ways to keep employees working from home while we bring this pandemic under control. It also points up the fact that Florida needs to diversify the types of businesses it attracts beyond the travel and leisure industries, which have been hardest hit. Our area is well-suited to do so.

Campaign website: none

Campaign’s social media pages: Facebook

  REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE

Sam Garrison

Party affiliation: Republican

Age: 43

Candidate’s family: Married for 21 years with two teenage daughters.

Occupation: Attorney

Education: J.D.- University of Illinois College of Law; B.A. - Samford University

Political experience: No prior elected office. Former Assistant State Attorney and current Chairman of St. Johns River State College Board of Trustees.

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

  1. Economic recovery
  2. Public safety
  3. Education

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

Every candidate brings their own unique strengths and weaknesses to the position.

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

Leaving the legislature with a stronger economy, safer neighborhoods and more quality schools than when I was first elected.

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

Improving access to quality education for all Floridians, especially in underserved communities.

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

Impossible to quantify. It affects all aspects of our State.

Campaign website: electsamgarrison.com

Campaign’s social media pages: N/A

  LIBERTARIAN CANDIDATE

Ken Willey

Party affiliation: Libertarian

Age: 48

Candidate’s family: Married 16 years with one child.

Occupation: Retired Military

Education: (no answer)

Political experience: Member of the 2014 Clay County Charter Review Commission, former Executive Committee member of the Libertarian Party of Florida, three time delegate to Libertarian Party National Convention.

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

  1. Economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
  2. Access to affordable healthcare.
  3. Reduced revenue and spending.

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

As neither Republican nor Democrat I will not be beholden to party politics or the special interests who fund their campaigns.

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

If I am remembered at all I would want to be remembered as the person who repealed more laws than they passed.

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

First we must reform the criminal justice system from top to bottom. We have to prison population above the national average in the nation with the largest prison population in the world. Too many of these inmates are serving time for nonviolent and victimless crimes. This destroys families and future prospects for far too many people.

We have to continue removing barriers to employment such as occupational licensing. We have to remove barriers to starting and growing a business.

These two things are a just a place to start.

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

We still have more to learn before and the ability to adapt rapidly to changes will be the first challenge.

Campaign website: KenWilley.net

Campaign’s social media pages: Facebook