District 9 now includes the southern half of Alachua County (everything south of State Roads 26 and 24) as well as all of Marion and Levy counties.
With only one Republican and one Democrat competing for this open seat in the Florida Senate, this race only appears 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.
Occupation: Business Owner
Your family: Married to Carole Long. Five Adult Children. Three Natural, Two adopted. Eleven Grand Children and One great grand child.
Education: Attended Sante Fe College, Howard University, University of Florida and Adullam Bible College
Political experience: Elected to Gainesville City Commission Served as Mayor-Commissioner for City of Gainesville. Elected to Alachua County Commission. Served as Chairman of BOCC on two separate occasions. Elected President of the Florida Association of Counties. Served on NACo Board of Directors. Represented NACo at Whitehouse with President Obama.
We asked our most-loyal viewers (News4Jax Insiders) what three issues they would most like candidates to address:
Viewers’ No. 1 issue: The economy
- The State of Florida is experiencing a great economy following the pandemic. Jobs are still available; however, inflation and the cost of living has increased, but wages have remained stagnant. We need to reduce gas prices. Work with the federal government and private sector to open up the supply chain for importing of essential commodities. Work with those industries that are still struggling to recover from the pandemic by providing capital and other assistance needed to fully recover.
Viewers’ No. 2 issue: Voter rights/election integrity
- Protecting Our Democracy is of extreme importance to Floridians. Since the horrific murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, Florida has shifted its protection of citizens’ rights. First through House Bill 1, making it a felony for more than two individuals to congregate on public streets in protest or if an officer believes that you are there to destroy property or incite a riot. Following the November 2020 election, Governor DeSantis proclaimed that Florida had a flawless election. However, at the Governor’s insistence, Senate Bill 90, was introduced under the disguise of voter integrity and approved by the legislature. This bill makes it a felony for a voter to submit more than his/her ballot and one other from a family member to the supervisor of elections office. Hours have been reduced at our supervisors of elections offices, drop boxes have been reduced and it is unlawful to provide water to voters standing in lines in the August heat, all under the disguise of voter integrity. This is Voter Suppression.
Viewers’ No. 3 issue: Gun rights/gun safety
- I support the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act as a good first step for gun safety in America. It should prevent people who are considered dangerous from obtaining a firearm, provides funds for mental health services, closes the boyfriend loophole, includes reasonable background checks and incentive for states to adopt red flag laws. The new legislation does not address other gun control measures that more that 60% of the American People support, banning assault weapons and magazine capacity. Perhaps within the next 30 years after the loss of thousands of more innocent lives being taken, we as a nation will see our way to address the other remaining issues.
News4Jax asked each candidate additional questions to help voters determine which most agrees with their views:
What do you see as the top three issues facing the state and nation over the next two years?
The top three issues facing the state are:
- Housing Affordability and Property Insurance.
- Healthcare for our neediest Floridians
- Racial Harmony
The Top three issues facing the nation:
- Inflation and the economy
- Womens Healthcare Choices
- Affordable Housing
Do you believe Joe Biden is the legitimately elected president of the United States?
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 believe that Women should have choices when it comes to their reproductive rights. Roe v Wade should have been codified into law many years ago. It’s up to congress to codify Roe v Wade into federal law so there will be one unified law in the country.
How can you help voters in a way that others running for this office cannot?
- My campaign for office has been and will continue to be about educating and motivating voters to participate in our representative democracy. My four decades of civic and public service gives me a unique advantage to serve in this seat. I am a public servant and not a politician. Politicians tells voters what they want to hear to get elected. Public servants serve the entire public with integrity and impartiality regardless of political affiliation or ideology.
What would you hope to be remembered for accomplishing after serving in this office?
- Protecting Our Democracy from extreme legislation that divides us as Floridians. Improving Florida’s educations standing from 45th in the nation to the top ten over the next ten years. Address Housing Affordability by addressing the 300,000-housing unit shortfall and fully funding the Sadowski Trust Fund.
Campaign website: rodneylongsenatedistrict9.com
Campaign’s social media site(s): facebook.com/rodneylongsenatedistrict9
This candidate, who has served in the Florida Senate since 2017, has not responded to multiple invitations to submit the News4Jax candidate questionnaire.
Campaign website: votekeithperry.com