88ºF

Florida state House District 20

District covers eastern Alachua County and northwestern Marion County

photo

Democrats Yvonne Hayes Hinson and Rodney Long are seeking to replace State Rep. Clovis Watson, who served this district that includes eastern Alachua County and the northwestern corner of Marion County for eight years and cannot seek reelection.

Because there is no Republican challenger in the race, the August primary will be open to all voters.

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

  DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE

Yvonne Hayes Hinson

Party affiliation: Democratic

Age: 72

Candidate’s family: 2 children, 5 grandchildren

Occupation: Retired Educator and City Commissioner

Education: BAE and MAE, University of Florida

Political experience: Gainesville City Commissioner, Democratic Nominee U.S. Congress, Candidate Florida House of Representatives District 20

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

  • My Opinion
  • Education
  • Criminal Justice
  • Environment
  • Housing

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

My educational experience makes me uniquely qualified to transform, reimagine and collaborate in creating a school system that we can all take pride in and will prepare all Floridians for the future.

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

Educational transformations, criminal justice reforms and the improvement of people's lives in the state of Florida.

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

Educational Equity, Police and Criminal Justice Accountability.

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

It has created a new normal for all existence including government. Keeping people safe, giving them sound accurate information, filling in the gaps where needs exist and reassuring people of inevitable resolve and hope.

Campaign website: yvonneforcongress.com (not active as of July 19)

Campaign’s social media pages: Facebook | Twitter


Rodney Long

Party affiliation: Democratic

Age: 63

Candidate’s family: Married

Occupation: Real Estate Broker

Education: College Degree

Political experience: Mayor and Gainesville City Commissioner, Alachua County Commission, President, Florida Association of Countes

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

Education: I am a supporter of more inclusion of workforce development in the middle and high school curriculum. In order to better prepare students for success who are not interested in pursuing higher education, we must provide alternative acceptable opportunities. All school districts should have an option on how they prepare students for career paths. I am a strong believer in Career and Technology Education that is centered around entrepreneurship. It should begin in middle and high school and provide incentives to students to pursue a career path in the trades, social media, technology and other areas that will lead to breaking the cycle of poverty. I am concerned about the lack of diversity in our flagship and other major universities. We must be creative in finding ways to admit students of color to these institutions of higher learning. Likewise, I am a strong supporter of our Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU's). As a parent of a graduate from a HBCU, I will support legislation to increase funding for our State HBCU's.

Healthcare: Another important issue for my campaign is supporting and advocating for the Affordable Care Act Medicaid Expansion Program to the more that 800,000 Florida residents that are eligible for coverage. The COVID -19 Pandemic has renewed calls for the legislature to revisit Medicaid Expansion to our most vulnerable Floridians as costs begin to rise. Helping to address some of the chronic diseases that many uninsured residents have by providing direct payments to physicians willing to assist these residents prior to hospitalization would help to address the growing costs.

Economic Opportunities & Expanding Our Tax Base: The COVID -19 Pandemic and other unfortunate disasters have shed light on how vulnerable our tax structure is in Florida. Unfortunately, Floridians will never approve a state amendment for an income tax which would help to stabilize our revenue sources. I agree that sales and use taxes are regressive on lower income Floridians and small businesses. There are not many options for balancing our revenues. We must begin to grow our economy by investing in start-up businesses and expanding our small and medium sized business. Investing in distressed areas using Empowerment Zones, Community Redevelopment Areas (CRA's) and other state incentives including the Qualified Target Industry Program (QTI) to encourage the recruitment of higher paying, higher skilled jobs to increase our local tax bases.

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

My qualifications and experience of nearly 40 years of Civic and Elected Office Experience allows me to hit the ground running to address issues facing Floridians in House District and the State of Florida.

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

Reaching across the aisle to bring about good public policy in social justice, criminal justice reform, education and poverty related issues.

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

The next House District 20 Representative will be tasked with passing legislation to address Police Reform in Florida. After reviewing proposed ideas from federal legislation, former officers, news reports and citizens, as your next House District 20 Representative, I Will Fight for the Following Police Reforms: • A Statewide Law banning chokeholds and knee holds for law enforcement agencies. • Eliminate Qualified Immunity for officers and allow victims to pursue civil action when their civil rights are violated and for unjustifiable use of force including death. • Deny recertification credentials to police officers that uses unwarranted use of force defined by state regulations. • Mandatory de-escalation and implicit bias training for all officers on best practices for patrolling neighborhoods of color. • Creation of an Independent Special Prosecutors Office located in the State Attorney Generals Office to investigate law enforcement abuse.

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

COVID 19 has changed the way campaigns interact with voters. We aren't able to meet & greet in large crowds and have live forums with opponents.

Campaign website: rodneylonghousedistrict20.com

Campaign’s social media pages: Facebook