As a child growing up in Gainesville, Florida, Andrew Gillum, Mayor of Tallahassee, Florida, and Democratic Party candidate for Florida governor, had big dreams. His father was a construction worker and his mother a bus driver. The odds were stacked against Gillum from very early but that didn’t deter him from aspiring to lofty goals.
Familiar with poverty
Growing up, Gillum, the fifth child of seven children knew first-hand what poverty is. This poverty nurtured strength of character and determination making it possible he could become the first black Governor of Florida.
“I grew up in Richmond Hill in South Miami-Dade and attended High School in Gainesville. I know what it’s like to struggle. The struggles that regular country people go through. I grew up in that,” Gillum told NW.
He graduated from Gainesville High School in 1998. That year he was recognized by the Gainesville Sun as one Gainesville “Persons of the Year.” After graduation, he attended the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) in Tallahassee.
At FAMU he served as President of the Student Government Association from 2001-2002. He was the first student member of FAMU Board of Trustees and Board member of the Black Youth Vote Coalition. That Coalition is a program of the National Coalition of Black Civic Participation in Washington, D.C..
Even before completing his higher studies he decided to contend in representational politics in Tallahassee, Florida’s capital. Before graduating, he was the youngest person elected to the Tallahassee City Commission. After ten years as a commissioner, Gillum successfully campaigned, for Mayor of Tallahassee and was elected winning 76 percent of the vote in 2014.
Gillum plans if elected Governor
Ambitious to advance to state governor, Gillum outlined some of his plans to improve the lives of Floridians if elected.
Among his priorities is education, He’s determined to provide opportunities for high-school graduates who have it difficult to advance to university.
“The students who are not college bound must not fall through the cracks. They need to get a shot at providing for their families and themselves. They must be able to acquire a skill or gain access to setting up small businesses,” he said.
Gillum referred to incumbent Republican Governor Rick Scott as sleeping on the job.
“We have a sleeper on the job as governor now. It all comes down to the fact that Rick Scott did not agree with the policies of President Barack Obama and he will do anything to wipe away his legacy,” he said
Attempts to “wipe away “Obama’s legacy were seen in the attempts to replace Obamacare, and in President Donald Trump’s decision to leave the Paris Climate Accord, Gillum said.
“When I am Governor, I am going to expand Medicaid, and make it illegal for Floridians to be discriminated against because of pregnancy or pre-existing health conditions,” Gillum said, “Also, in Florida, we are impacted by climate change and should be a leader in green technology. Solar and green technology can provide employment across the state. We should be cashing in on it not backing away. We should be telling the world what to do about climate change.”
Gillum also promised to protect immigrants who he said were integral to Florida’s economy. “I know the positive impact immigrants have had on the growth of this state.”
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