On The Road To November: FL & AZ Candidates Can Make History This Tuesday
This Tuesday, young progressives candidates in Arizona and Florida are challenging the status quo and doing the damn work to win their primaries..
In Arizona, candidates like Alma Hernandez and Devin Del Palacio, have stepped up to run, with the hope that the state’s political body will become a more accurate reflection of its demographics.
In Florida, we’ve seen the so-called “pink wave” come through in full force with women like Emma Collum and Dotie Joseph running for office for the first time.
And as a bonus, we’ve got an exciting run-off election in Oklahoma. Can’t stop won’t stop getting people to vote.
We’re so excited about all the new, young political talent — they aren’t just changing their communities, they’re shattering society’s perceptions of who a candidate needs to be in order to win.
Take a look at our 27 badass candidates on the ballot this Tuesday!
Alma Hernandez (Contested Primary)
Arizona State House of Representatives, District 3
Alma was born and raised on the south side of Tucson. She earned her Bachelors of Science and Masters in Public Health from the University of Arizona. As a 14-year-old she was brutally attacked and subsequently exposed to the criminal justice system rigged against people of color. This experience showed her first hand what happens in our school to prison pipeline. For the last decade, she’s worked hard to elect Democrats in Arizona. Most recently she led efforts in Arizona to defeat the repeal of the ACA. Because of her experiences, she’s an outspoken activist on healthcare, public education and criminal justice reform.
Andrés Cano (Contested Primary)
Arizona State House of Representatives, District 3
Andrés Cano, a sixth generation Arizonan, learned about perseverance while being raised by a single mom in public housing. Andrés, 25, wants to help restore funding to Arizona’s crumbling public education system, enact meaningful criminal justice reform, and eliminate tax loopholes to better fund roads and infrastructure.
A first generation college graduate, Andrés has been at the forefront of policy decisions with Pima County since 2012, when he became the youngest policy advisor in County government. Andrés is young, gay, Latino, pro-choice, and Catholic. Andrés is running as a proud progressive in an open seat to represent the community that raised him.
Bradley Hughes (Uncontested Primary)
Arizona State House of Representatives, District 21
Dr. Bradley Hughes grew up in rural Kentucky as the son of an auto mechanic and a cafeteria worker. He is a product of a public school and a public university. He moved to Arizona in 2010 to continue his medical education. He has served the west valley as a House Call physician for the past five years. Dr. Hughes believes in funding public education, reducing healthcare costs for all, and fair tax reform. He enjoys spending time with his sons and fiance and has volunteered as a soccer coach as well as with local charities.
Devin Del Palacio (Contested Primary)
Arizona State House of Representatives, District 19
Devin Del Palacio is a modern, multicultural servant-leader running a grassroots, people-powered campaign for the Arizona State House of Representatives. In a district that is younger and more diverse than the rest of Arizona, Devin shares the values and lived experiences of his constituents. He’s been an advocate for kids and working families as the Vice President of the Tolleson Union High School District Governing Board and he is ready to bring his experience and progressive values to the state legislature.
Elaissia Sears (Uncontested Primary)
Justice of the Peace — West Mesa Justice Precinct, District 26
Elaissia Sears is an Arizona native and a proud product of Mesa Public Schools. She is an active member of her community, having served as a mentor to international students, the Youth & Education Assistant for Phoenix Sister Cities, and as staff at the Arizona House of Representatives. She is a global professional who has had the privilege of representing Arizona as a student ambassador through Congress to Germany, and was later selected for an internship with the U.S. State Department at the U.S. Embassy in Berlin.
She graduated from Arizona State University, and has a B.A. in Global Studies, a minor in German, and certificates in Political Entrepreneurship, Women and Gender Studies, and International Relations. As a strong advocate for education, Elaissia taught English in rural communities in the Dominican Republic and South Korea, and now works as an assistant 4th grade teacher. Elaissia believes that leadership for a better Mesa includes empowering citizens with education, implementing restorative justice practices, cultivating new awareness of social and community issues, and providing a fresh outlook on how we can all be part of the solution in our justice courts.
Joe Bisaccia (Contested Primary)
Arizona State House of Representatives, District 12
Joe Bisaccia is a former TV news reporter and a public school teacher in Gilbert, Arizona. He’s a graduate of Arizona State University and the son of union workers. Joe is running for office to build a strong future for Arizona: with properly funded education, strong infrastructure, excellent healthcare, and elected officials that represent the views of the people, not special interest groups.
JP Martin (Contested Primary)
Arizona State House of Representatives, District 9
JP is running to change the relationship between Arizona’s government and the people. He is a naturalized immigrant from Mexico with entrepreneurial experience in global trade and medical technology. He is running to expand our local economy to reduce income inequality, bolstered by P-20 education priorities to build out a more intentional pipeline for young professionals to gainful employment; and an immigration policy that keeps family together.
Julie Gunnigle (Contested Primary)
Arizona State House of Representatives, District 15
Julie is a wife, mother, and (former) prosecutor of politicians. She built a career holding politicians accountable and fighting for public education. Now, she’s running for office because our kids deserve better. Julie grew up in the 15th Legislative District and saw first-hand how powerful a fully-funded education system could be. Education changes lives, but we will never get there unless we address the conflicts of interest and corruption at the Capitol.
Marcus Ferrell (Contested Primary)
Arizona State House of Representatives, District 24
After working as an organizer for many years I had the opportunity to work for Bernie Sanders. While on the campaign trail I began to look around and see the lack of representation around the country. Taking that idea home, I quickly saw a district that was suffering from the lack of representation. I decided to throw my had in the ring to fight for the representation I believed in.
Maria Teresa Mabry (Contested Primary)
Justice of the Peace — South Mountain Precinct
Maria Teresa Mabry is a 3rd generation Phoenician — the grandchild of Mexican migrants, Black church leaders. Maria Teresa grew up around the courts and playing in judge’s robes. Their Mom worked as an educator and in the courts. Their dad would take them to see him litigate as a lawyer for the National Labor Relations Board. Maria Teresa graduated from Arizona State University with an interdisciplinary degree in Justice Studies and Music, merging two loves. They build as an organizer because I know there is something better for all of us. They do it for the love of their people.Teresa is running for Justice of the Peace for the South Mountain Precinct because there is an opportunity with our justice system to challenge the practices that sell us short. There is no greater love for community than justice. Maria Teresa isn’t here to save the communities, nor can any elected — They believe that we as community can free ourselves.
Matthew Marquez (Contested Primary)
Arizona State Senate, District 20
Matthew was born and raised in Phoenix and has a deep passion for making the community better. He previously worked in the non-profit sector, advocating and empowering families within the disability community. Matthew wants to take the fight to the state legislature to stand up and speak out for all those who are ignored and oppressed.
Anna Eskamani (Uncontested Primary)
Florida State House of Representatives, District 47
Anna V. Eskamani is lifelong Orlando Native and daughter of immigrants who has worked relentlessly her entire life to protect all members of our community through effective advocacy, bold leadership, and strategic management. A community organizer with a proven track record in building consensus while fighting unapologetically for progressive values, Anna currently serves as the Senior Director of Public Affairs and Communications for Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida.
Bilan Joseph (Contested Primary)
Pinellas County School Board, District 7
Dr. Bilan Joseph is a passionate educator, mother, and a concerned citizen running for Pinellas County School Board, District 7. As a teacher in a failing public school, she has witnessed firsthand the lack of access to the necessary funding and resources required to provide every student within her county an education that will prepare them to do more than simply sit for a test. Moreover, she holds three professional degrees in education. Dr. Joseph also has eleven years’ experience as an elementary, middle, and high school English teacher in the public, private, and charter school sectors.
Brandon Alfred (Contested Primary)
Miami-Dade School Board, District 2
Brandon is an educator who is running for Miami-Dade County School Board. After graduating from Yale University, Brandon came to Miami as part of Teach for America to teach at Miami Central SHS. Brandon would go on to become the Dean of Culture at Jose de Diego MS where he helped transform the school from an “F” to a “C” in just two years. As the son of educators, Brandon knows he was lucky to have parents who could navigate the public education system. In District 2, where 70% of traditional high school students did not pass their state exams in Math or Reading, Brandon is running to eliminate luck from the equation.
Casey Ayers (Contested Primary)
Duval County School Board, District 2
Casey is running for Duval County School Board, District 2, covering Jacksonville and the nearby beach communities. He’s created dozens of online courses that more than 270,000 learners around the world have taken to pursue industry-recognized certifications. Casey understands firsthand how important it is to ensure every one of our students can identify and pursue tomorrow’s opportunities. He’ll work to ensure each of our middle and high schools offer unique magnet or career certification tracks that greatly enhance the value of each student’s education, pairing this with innovative life skills courses that prepare students for life after school.
Cedric McMinn (Uncontested Primary)
Florida State House of Representatives, District 109
Cedric McMinn is the Chief of Staff for Miami-Dade School Board Member Dr. Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall. His responsibilities include working with community organizations, elected officials, and leaders to benefit the students attending schools in School Board District 2. He was the Political Outreach and African-American Director for the 2008 Barack Obama and Joe Biden Presidential Campaign. Cedric also served as the Executive Director of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party.
Dotie Joseph (Contested Primary)
Florida State House of Representatives, District 108
Dotie Joseph is running for Florida House District 108, one of South Florida’s most diverse districts. As the daughter of a pastor and nurse, both of them were also educators, public service runs in her veins. Born in Haiti and raised in her District, Dotie studied hard in local public schools, and went on to earn degrees from Yale and Georgetown law. After becoming a fierce advocate, interning with Pres. Carter in Atlanta, and volunteering with Pres. Obama, Dotie seeks to serve her as a living reminder of what truly makes this country great: opportunity. she wants to fight to ensure that everybody has equal access to all the opportunities available, including affordable health care & housing, quality education, and safe communities that are climate change resilient and free from gun violence.
Emma Collum (Contested Primary)
Florida State House of Representatives, District 93
Emma Collum is a small business attorney, President and Founder of Women’s March Florida, and National Head of Field Operations for Women’s March, Inc. Emma’s decision to run for House District 93 is inspired by the strong feelings she has about protecting our environment, critical infrastructure needs caused by sea level rise and storm surge, public education funding, and small business and STEM job growth, and consistently fighting for the rights of impacted communities.
Fentrice Driskell (Uncontested Primary)
Florida State House of Representatives, District 63
Tampa attorney and trusted community leader Fentrice Driskell will focus on real solutions to help the hardworking people of Florida. Fentrice’s dad, a former dispatcher, and mom, a public school teacher for 35 years, taught her the value of hard work. She is a product of Florida’s public schools, graduate of Harvard and Georgetown law school, and partner at the Carlton Fields law firm. Fentrice volunteers with organizations that aid students, families, and veterans and recently was named the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida’s 2018 Woman of Promise for supporting our community. Respected for her leadership and good judgment, Fentrice will be a true champion for Hillsborough County families.
Kelly Damerow (Contested Primary)
Brevard County School Board, District 5
Kelly Damerow is a wife, mother, educator turned attorney, and experienced advocate. She received her K-12 education, Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in education, as well as her law degree from Florida public schools. She worked as a student teacher in a Title I classroom in Melbourne. In law school she specialized in education law and public policy.
She spent over 4 years in Washington D.C. advocating on education issues. She gained leadership and budgeting experience running two seperate nonprofits. She returned to Brevard to be closer to family, start her own, and fulfill her promise to improve Florida education.
Lee Mangold (Uncontested Primary)
Florida State House of Representatives, District 28
Lee is a Central Florida native and a progressive Democrat. He earned his Doctorate in Computer and Information Security, owns a Central Florida based cybersecurity company, is an adjunct professor at the University of Central Florida, and manages and participates in multiple non-profit organizations. Lee will bring rational thinking and scientific rigor to the state legislature. Legislation should be created based on fact. Lee will use his background in scientific research to make informed decisions on various issues important to the District, including protecting public education, providing healthcare for all in need, and protecting our natural resources.
Nathcelly Leroy Rohrbaugh (Uncontested Primary)
Florida State House of Representatives, District 11
Nathcelly is a husband, father and homemaker. Northeast Florida has been his home for 31 years. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the University of Florida. Nathcelly is focused on what really matters to Florida’s families: an economy that works for everyone, accessible and affordable healthcare, and a public education system which prepares our children for the 21st Century. He will make sure Tallahassee begins addressing the risks associated with rising tides and polluted water. After 20 years of single party rule in Tallahassee, it is time to chart a new course for Florida.
Dr. Parisima Taeb (Uncontested Primary)
Florida State House of Representatives, District 78
Dr. Parisima Taeb is a mother, physician, small business owner, activist, and she enjoys doing humanitarian work in her community. She is the Democratic candidate for Florida State House, District 78. She is an Iranian-American citizen who immigrated here at a young age as a refugee and she is the epitome of an American dream. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Children’s Network of Southwest Florida, she is a member of Lee County Opioid Task Force, member of American Society of Addiction Medicine, and member of Obesity Medicine Association. She is also a member of physician for humanity group which helps those suffering from war or natural disasters. As a physician, its her ethical obligation to heal, educate, and empower her community so they can work together for a mission of building a stronger and safer community.
Pasha Baker (Contested Primary)
Mayor, Sanford, Florida
Pasha Baker is the Director & Chief Executive Officer of Goldsboro West Side Community Historical Association, Inc. In her daily role she collaborates with State and Federal agencies, partners with small businesses, executes grant and fundraising platforms, and manages the Goldsboro Museum, Francis Oliver Cultural Arts and Goldsboro Welcome Center, Crooms Academy Museum, The Goldsboro Heritage & Art Garden, The Goldsboro Arts Square, and Page Jackson Cemetery.
Appointed by City and County Commissions for Advisory and Board of Director Delegations, Pasha gained a skilled understanding of the complexities of city government and how to execute solutions for our hard working citizens.
Tammy Garcia (Uncontested Primary)
Florida State House of Representatives, District 37
Tammy is a mother, a Florida native, and a trained mediator. She is dedicated to fighting for the people of Florida. As a lifetime Girl Scout member, she believes in always leaving a place better than how she found it. That is why she will fight to improve the public education system and improve teacher pay, move Florida forward by demanding increased solar energy production, and bring equality to ALL Floridians. Being trained in various conflict resolution techniques, Tammy is exactly what Tallahassee needs in order to bring resolutions instead of more conflict.
Wesley Anne Beggs (Contested Primary)
Sarasota County Commissioner, District 4
Wesley is running for Sarasota County Commissioner because we deserve better representation at all levels of government. She is a native Floridian, a small business owner, a community activist, and a concerned citizen. Wesley is running to represent the people of this county that value environmental protection, affordable housing, and sustainable growth. Now more than ever it’s important to focus on the future we are creating and the type of world we want to leave for the next generations.
Carrie Blumert (Runoff Primary)
Oklahoma County Commissioner, District 1
Carrie Blumert is running for Oklahoma County Commissioner, District 1 in the Oklahoma City metro area. Her passion for local criminal justice reform, mental health, and addiction recovery are what pushed her to run office after volunteering with several local campaigns since 2013. Her background includes a master’s degree in Public Health, directing a grassroots community health coalition with the Oklahoma City County Health Department, teaching yoga, and coordinating behavioral therapy for children on the Autism Spectrum. Carrie believes our criminal justice system is a public health issue and reform can begin at the local level with the Oklahoma County Jail and increasing access to diversion and recovery programs for offenders. Her personal experience with family members experiencing mental health and addiction issues has inspired Carrie to be a leader in her community to end stigma and improve our local criminal justice system. Carrie is a Sally’s List endorsed candidate and was recently named to the Oklahoma Gazette’s 40 Under 40 list.