Florida House District 21

Districts after 2022 redistricting

One Republican and one Democrat are seeking the votes for Florida House District 21, which covers most of Gainesville and extends west to the Gulf of Mexico. Because there was only one candidate from each party, this race appears only on the November ballot.

News4Jax sent a questionnaire to each candidate asking about their background and their views on several issues. Scroll down to read the responses of those seeking your vote -- in their own words.

Note: Responses are sorted alphabetically by party and are published exactly as submitted, with no editing by News4Jax staff.

  DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE
No candidate photo

Yvonne Hayes Hinson

Occupation: Retired School Principal

Age: 74

Your family: Children: Kamelya, Ivan Grandchildren: Kamaya, Khambrel, Tierra, London, Alexis

Education: University of Florida, BA, Education, 1971, MA, Education, 1972

Political experience: Florida House of Representatives in 2020-2022, City of Gainesville, City Commissioner, 2012-2015

We asked our most-loyal viewers (News4Jax Insiders) what three issues they would most like candidates to address:

Viewers’ No. 1 issue: The economy

  • I believe the best way to foster and grow the economy is to invest in education and job training. As a life-long educator I have seen the value that a proper education can add to a person’s life and broader society. That’s why we must invest in mentorship programs, magnet schools, job training, and trade schools. I also believe that we must do a better job as a society of connecting job seekers with employers. Also, invest in young entrepreneurs as well as new entrepreneurs with cutting edge ideas such as robotics, animation and artificial intelligence.

Viewers’ No. 2 issue: Voter rights/election integrity

  • Voting rights are under attack in the state of Florida. Whether it is restrictions on voting by mail, drop-boxes, the establishment of an election police force, or stripping away minority access districts, the current administration seems focused on decreasing representation. They claim these policies are implemented for election integrity, yet Florida had one of the securest elections on record in 2020. My stance is simple, elections have been fair, accessible and free, any attempt to make it harder to vote is an assault on our most basic right.

Viewers’ No. 3 issue: Gun rights/gun safety

  • I believe in common sense gun laws. We have a unique gun violence epidemic in this country. I believe through popular policies like red-flag laws, gun buy-back programs, increased background checks, limited rounds of ammunition and a ban on military style assault rifles we can end the violence in our streets. I am proudly endorsed by Mom’s Demand Action and joined my colleagues in the House calling for a special session on gun violence. A person’s right to own a gun does not include weapons of war.

News4Jax asked each candidate additional questions to help voters determine which most agrees with their viewers:

What do you see as the top three issues facing the state and nation over the next two years?

  1. Fully funding education, respecting and empowering teachers and removing the culture wars that Republican lawmakers have begun waging in the classroom.
  2. Affordable Housing and rent stability
  3. Protecting our natural environment.

Do you believe Joe Biden is the legitimately elected president of the United States?

  • Yes, I do. Those who sought violent and disruptive measures to dispute this should be prosecuted at once.

In light of the Supreme Court ruling striking down Roe v. Wade, would you propose or support additional laws either banning abortion entirely or guaranteeing reproductive rights?

  • I would support legislation that guarantees bodily autonomy for all Floridians. The right to choose is a fundamental right worthy of protection.

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

  • I can help voters because I know the issues voters care about. I am a mother, former educator, small business owner and I have experience working with the Gainesville Housing Authority. I have lived and fought through the fight for voting rights and I have witnessed environmental devastation. I was a City Commissioner and now I have spent two years in the Florida House. I can help voters because I have the experience necessary to be a steward for this community and a true representative.

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

  • I hope to make strides improving our education system, defending our right to vote, increasing our quality of life, protecting our natural waterways, and never shying away from a fight.

Campaign website: yvonneforflorida.com

Campaign’s social media site(s): Facebook - yvonnehayeshinson | Twitter @YvonneHinsonFL | Instagram @hinsonyvonne

  REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE
Hollye Merton

Hollye Merton

Occupation: Technical Analyst

Age: 65

Your family: Single w/2 Adult Children

Education: MBA,MSTM

Political experience: First time running, but occasional activism.

We asked our most-loyal viewers (News4Jax Insiders) what three issues they would most like candidates to address:

Viewers’ No. 1 issue: The economy

  • Economies are the result of a free marketplace able to operate with minimal disruption and regulation. As such, I would work towards making sure that regulations were both necessary and not burdensome to businesses.

Viewers’ No. 2 issue: Voter rights/election integrity

  • Election integrity is essential to the success of our delicate Republic. Citizens have a right to vote and no others do. We must ensure that elections are fair and that only citizens are able to vote. Cheating is not the American Way.

Viewers’ No. 3 issue: Gun rights/gun safety

  • I stand firm on the 2nd Amendment in that all law-abiding citizens have a right to keep and bare arms and also have a duty to our country to do so. I believe strongly that each individual that exercises their right be properly trained. In light of that, I will work to that end to ensure that gun owners have the training available to them and that it is affordable. I would like to see every Florida resident take a concealed carry class if for no other reason than to learn the real facts about guns. There are too many that are uninformed and they are usually the ones fighting to control them. Also, our schools must be hardened, but not so they look like a gulag, but rather making practical changes that protect the children. I would work hard to establish a state-wide volunteer Guardian consortium to help protect our most valuable resource; our children.

News4Jax asked each candidate additional questions to help voters determine which most agrees with their viewers:

What do you see as the top three issues facing the state and nation over the next two years?

  1. Inflation,
  2. Possible war,
  3. States efforts to codify their laws on constitutional carry and abortion.

Do you believe Joe Biden is the legitimately elected president of the United States?

  • He was sworn in in accordance to our Constitution. What happened prior to that is still in question.

In light of the Supreme Court ruling striking down Roe v. Wade, would you propose or support additional laws either banning abortion entirely or guaranteeing reproductive rights?

  • Each state must listen to the voices of the people that take an active role in their own destiny and act accordingly. It is why SCOTUS overturned it. We are the United States of America, not the Federation of America. States’ rights are an important feature of our Republic and the Tenth Amendment clearly enumerates them.

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

  • I will work to educate people on the importance of the 2nd Amendment and ensure that our right is not infringed upon. I am a business person that is adept at problem solving and I will work to bolster small business in the state and will work to lower crime. I have a more pragmatic approach to issues than does my opponent.

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

  • Creating a structure for safe schools by eliminating gun-free zones and putting in place practical solutions that would eliminate the possibility of any deranged individual from taking students’ lives. And for being able to increase truthful and honest information on how guns can save lives in the right hands.

Campaign website: HollyeForFlorida.com

Campaign’s social media site(s): Twitter @Hollye4Florida