The Political Hurricane Endorsement: Marihelen Wheeler for Florida House District 20

The Gainesville based 20th district is a reliably Democratic seat that will elect a new representative this year. First time candidate Marihelen Wheeler is a newcomer to electoral politics but not to the most important issues Florida faces on a daily basis.

Wheeler has been a tireless advocate for children and schools in Alachua County, and has spent time in Tallahassee looking after the interests of those schools. Wheeler believes in holding Charter Schools and Voucher Schools accountable for the taxpayer dollars they receive- holding them to the same standards public schools are held to throughout the state.

Even though politicians don’t like to discuss it, Florida is running out of  water. As we have highlighted on this website both Democrats and Republicans have put chosen to put short term “growth” above long term sustainability for our state. Wheeler sees this issue differently. Unlike other state legislative candidates, Wheeler is talking regularly about water and the importance of economic growth being reconciled with the environmental concerns.

Wheeler would be a true citizen legislator, something badly lacking in today’s Florida House.  The vast majority of her contributions have come from individuals in Alachua County, not professional political operatives or lobbyists. Her opponent is Clovis Watson, a former City Manager of Alachua. Watson, who is African-American stresses job growth and helping business. Watson fits to profile of the type of Democrat elected to the State House in recent years and while he has some positive traits he is unlikely to be a strong advocate for progressive causes. Watson even switched parties to the GOP in 2006 before switching back to the Democrats a few years later.

At a time when we need a clear delineation between Republicans and Democrats on the state level, Wheeler will be a strong voice for progressive causes while Watson could further muddy the lines between the parties. Watson does have some strong traits but he faces a much stronger candidate who deserves election in this race.

The Political Hurricane endorses Marihelen Wheeler for Florida House District 20.


7 thoughts on “The Political Hurricane Endorsement: Marihelen Wheeler for Florida House District 20

  1. Wheeler by all indications is a better progressive but this contest has become racially tinged and in a seat held for over twenty years by an African-American endorsing a white woman may not have been your smartest move honestly. I would have stayed out if this personally if I were TPH.

  2. Let me address this. We look for progressives that advocate our point of view or come closest to our points of view. We believe Wheeler will be an excellent citizen legislator advocating issues that are being ignored by most legislators even many Democrats.

    We have made several endorsements across the state. In some races like Senate District 39 we have endorsed an African-American candidate against a white one. In others like Senate District 27 we’ve endorsed a white candidate against an African-American one.

    Our criteria for endorsements is simple and straight forward. We endorse those who will be STRONG advocates for progressives positions in the legislature, not simply yes women/men for the party. Electoral considerations and candidate viability while important are from the determining factors in our endorsements.

    I have followed the HD-20 race as I still have ties to Gainesville where I went to school. I am well aware of the rhetoric in the contest currently but advised our editorial board that Wheeler was the proper choice and we choose to endorse her.

    Thanks again for you concern and thanks for continuing to read TPH.

  3. I don’t disagree with you at all. Just pointing out the implications as they may be interpreted by some.

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