Rachel Brown: Powering to the polls

Rachel Brown (Photo: Rachel Brown Campaign)

Sept. 10, 2020 by David Silverberg

Like many people, Rachel Brown’s politics and understanding of the world has evolved—but she’s had a lot further to go and started at an earlier age than most.

Born in 1994 and raised in Naples, Fla., Brown’s father made money selling guns at gun shows. She was raised in a house without air conditioning with Fox News blaring in the background. Until the third grade she was home schooled but then her mother, a teacher by profession, worked three jobs to afford the tuition to send her to private school at the Evangelical Christian School in Fort Myers.

It was an upbringing that might have produced a woman with narrow expectations, a limited perspective on the world and conservative political views.

Instead, today Brown is the progressive candidate for the Florida state Senate in District 27, determined to protect the district’s natural environment, ensure a decent life for its people and tackle the challenges that face them.

“I’m a liberal who comes from conservative roots,” she says. “I’m tired of my legislators ignoring issues like harmful algal blooms, the growing numbers of COVID-19 cases, and the massive homeless crisis on the rise.”

Center of gravity

State Senate District 27 includes Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Pine Island, Sanibel and Captiva. It is the center of population in Lee County. The Caloosahatchee River runs through it to its shoreline on the Gulf of Mexico.

Florida Senate District 27

The District is currently represented by Republican Sen. Elizabeth Benaquisto, who is term-limited and stepping down.

Benaquisto’s retirement set off a ferocious primary battle to succeed her between state House Reps. Ray Rodrigues (R-76-Fort Myers Beach) and Heather Fitzenhagen (R-78-Fort Myers), a battle so bitter they appeared in dueling TV ads firing guns, with the barely disguised implication they would gladly turn those guns on each other.

By then, Brown was already a declared candidate for the seat. She was approached by state Sen. Gary Farmer (D-34) the designated Senate minority leader, who urged Brown not to run so that Democrats could vote in an open Republican primary and elect the more moderate Fitzenhagen.

However, Brown refused, saying “How can I tell people I’ve marched with that I changed my mind, I’m not going to run, and they should go vote for a mediocre Republican instead who’s just going to take their taxes and use it for corporate handouts? And how can I take a backroom deal that represents the behavior I’m fighting to end?”

On Aug. 18 Rodrigues decisively defeated Fitzenhagen.

Given the past Republican nature of the District, the conventional wisdom is that it will remain the same.

Brown is determined to prove that assumption wrong. As her campaign slogan puts it: “Defy the norm!”

“Incredibly urgent”

After three years in private school, Brown attended Palmetto Ridge High School in Naples for a year and then began going part time to Florida Gulf Coast University, where she is still studying.

“I wasn’t planning to run for office before I got my degree,” she says. “But it’s incredibly urgent that I do it now.”

Brown is training as an environmental engineer and it was her sensitivity and understanding of the environment—and particularly the relationship of the District with its natural setting—that powered her run for office.

“Water quality is the big issue for everyone,” she observes. “Anyone in Southwest Florida has seen the degradation of our water and the algae blooms. My whole life I’ve heard folks that have been around longer than I have say that the water used to be a bright, beautiful crystal blue, not like the brown and black plumes we see today.”

“I believe every person should have a legal right to clean air and clean water; a right that citizens of District 27 do not currently have,” she says, adding that she’s ready to fight for that right in Tallahassee.

She’s also angry that important environmental legislation has repeatedly been put off or deferred by the state legislature.

“Every time they see an environmental group trying to do something good they try to stop it,” she says.

She’s particularly incensed by what she calls the deceptively named Clean Waterways Act, which has been signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).

While the law puts in place a variety of water purity regulations and procedures, it also takes away the power of local governments to extend legal rights to plants, animals or bodies of water, so that their purity or health can be protected in court. Brown believes there needs to be an environmental bill of rights and says she will work to repeal the Act in order to pass a better alternative.

It’s mainly on these environmental issues that she most disagrees with her opponent. During the primary, Rodrigues was painted as a tool of the sugar industry around Lake Okeechobee, earning him the nickname “Sugar Ray.” Water from the lake is blamed for much of the pollution that flows down the Caloosahatchee River and dumps into the waters of the 27th District, clogging the canals of Cape Coral with algal mats and causing blue-green algae blooms along the river’s shores.

“He’s everything I am not,” says Brown. “He doesn’t seem to put the people of Lee County first.”

Stress tests

While the natural environment is critical to sustaining life and the 27th District’s economy, that life is under stress from the pandemic and the economy has been badly battered.

Nonetheless, Brown is optimistic: “I truly believe that a combination of individual and community efforts can make everyone’s lives better,” she says. “There are so many positive changes to be made when we work together.”

She points out that in Lee County the average cost of rent has increased by 19 percent since 2001 while the average income has gone up by only 4 percent, meaning that working people cannot keep up. She favors increasing the minimum wage to a livable level of $15 over six years. “If people aren’t making enough to live they’re going to need help,” she says.

She has seen homelessness in Lee County in person while working food service jobs. With the pandemic and economic crash she fears that homelessness is likely to increase and the county has to be ready for it.

People also need their healthcare, which she vows to protect, and she wants to expand Medicaid in the state.

Will she be branded a “socialist” for all this? Ironically, she points out, Rodrigues himself praised socialized healthcare. It came during a League of Women Voters forum when he commended Sweden’s approach to the COVID crisis by trying to develop herd immunity—covered by its socialized healthcare.

Brown also supports mask mandates to protect people from coronavirus.

Given her father’s past gun dealing, Brown says she’s comfortable with gun ownership as long as owners behave legally and responsibly. However, she feels they should be held liable for the use of their weapons. She really takes issue with Florida’s “stand your ground” law.

“Stand your ground as it is doesn’t do the job it was intended to do,” she argues. “It shouldn’t be allowed to be used in an offensive way.”

One issue that is close to her heart is that of infrastructure—good public transportation and safe streets—and for a very personal reason.

In 2004 her 12-year-old brother Eric was killed in a hit-and-run incident while he was riding his bicycle in Golden Gate Estates. Brown believes the culprit—who was never caught—was drunk or on drugs.

The incident made her determined to work for greater road safety. “We have a lack of city planning,” she notes. “A lot of the county is considered a rural environment but that’s just a way to excuse the lack of planning. We need better planning because then we’ll have safer roadways and fewer emissions.”

Her stance on infrastructure has won her an endorsement from Thomas Kanell, creator of ABetterLeeTran.com, a website advocating improved public transportation in Lee County. He called her “a courageous activist whose focus on the needs of everyday people and on preserving the environment is a fresh alternative from the money-driven politics that have characterized elections in our state.”

Her brother’s death also convinced Brown that alcohol and drugs need to be gotten off the streets. “Drug possession in and of itself is not the issue,” she maintains. “Driving under the influence of drugs and reckless driving in general is. Rather than busting people in their homes for drug consumption, we need to keep it off the roads.”

A public servant

Brown is fully aware that running as a Democrat in what has to date been a Republican district is a long, difficult battle against heavy odds. Her opponent is deep-rooted, backed by the Republican establishment and well-funded.

“At the start of my campaign, I innocently imagined a full paid staff; leaders of volunteer crews, managers, and social media people,” she recounts. “Now I realize that’s not going to happen.”

Instead, small donations have enabled her to order and distribute a hundred face masks and face shields. In addition to using social media she’s purchased yard signs and been able to produce a 30-second television advertisement. She’s planning to send out mailers.

In what she calls a game-changing development, a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee organization called Red to Blue is helping her with software and text message campaigning.

She’s been endorsed by other candidates like congressional candidate Cindy Banyai and Anselm Weber, running for the Florida House in District 76.

Interestingly enough, she’s also getting Republican help from supporters of Heather Fitzenhagen who were disgusted by Rodrigues’ primary campaign.

 “Many women are angered by Ray’s vicious campaign against Heather which ultimately lost her the primary,” she observes. “In order to win, I need support from all women and I’m delighted by those who have joined me.”

She acknowledges that “It’s hard being a grassroots candidate,” but adds, “I’m powering to the polls.”

Among the many promises and pledges that are made on the campaign trail, there’s one Brown is absolutely determined to keep: “My biggest celebration when I win will be to finally pay for air conditioning for my mother,” she says.

To learn more about Rachel Brown, visit her website, Facebook page or follow her on Twitter.

Liberty lives in light

©2020 by David Silverberg

Commentary: Southwest Florida’s lying liars who lie—a lot

Heather Fitzenhagen takes aim in her TV ad, “If you see Ray.” (Image: In Florida we Trust)

Aug. 14, 2020 by David Silverberg.

Nobody likes to be lied about. Whether you’re in kindergarten or elder care, it’s hurtful.

People who run for public office know that they’re going to be maligned; it’s part of the process. You put yourself out there and anyone can throw a rotten tomato; it comes with the territory in an electoral contest. In politics, if you can’t take the hit, don’t run for it.

But there are political lies, shadings of the truth and spins of the facts, and then there are lies, malicious falsehoods of whole cloth, entirely made up, untruths so stinging and painful they can even get under the skin of a thick-skinned politician. They’re more than lies, they’re smears.

Swamp creatures

In Southwest Florida the smears are getting smearier and penetrating Republican candidates’ skins, like chigger bites. The candidates are getting irritated and especially for the novices and amateurs, that burning itch just has to be scratched, as can be seen in their television ads. Everyone is accusing everyone else of lying. The Republican field has steadily descended into a mud pit so deep not even a swamp buggy could escape.

As one example, take the battle between businessman Casey Askar and state Rep. Byron Donalds (R-80-Immokalee).

Donalds was so exercised by Askar’s advertising charging that Donalds once supported Barack Obama that Donalds was moved to retain a lawyer (Todd Allen of Naples) to send a cease and desist letter to Askar.

“There is nothing you could have discerned from Mr. Donalds’ social media activity or his political activities that indicates that he actually did vote for or support President Barack Obama. Despite having that knowledge, you proceeded with the allegation out of pure malice toward Mr. Donalds,” charges the Aug. 7 letter.

The letter goes on to point out that Askar has some thin skin of his own: He’s suing Andrew Duskin, a conservative activist in Naples, for $30,000 for alleging that Askar didn’t really earn the Harvard Business School degree he claims.

Stop leveling this terrible charge, says the letter to Askar. “If you choose to continue with these false statements, Mr. Donalds will follow your lead and protect himself from misguided and unfounded attempts to assassinate his character”—and we all know how terrible a crime it was to vote for Barack Obama, an offense committed by over 65 million Americans in 2012. But this is Southwest Florida and the two men are running in a Republican primary.

Chris Gober, Asker’s Austin, Texas-based attorney shot back on Aug. 10 with a 4-page letter of his own. In it he detailed all of Donalds’ Democratic transgressions, noting that he was a registered Democrat in 2003 and “did not register as a Republican until March 11, 2010, 484 days after Barack Obama was elected President of the United States.”

“In summary, your letter does more to confirm the reality that Mr. Donalds supported President Barack than to rebut it”—a charge so grave that Mr. Gober was apparently unable to bring himself to type out the name “Obama.”

“In conclusion, I would be remiss if I did not explicitly state the obvious: The truth is an absolute defense to a defamation claim,” Gober wrote. “Thus, because your letter does more to confirm the reality that Mr. Donalds supported President Barack Obama than to rebut it, your client has no legal basis to demand that our campaign cease airing its advertisements.”

To the best of this author’s knowledge, this is the only time a cease and desist letter has been sent between political campaigns over so serious a charge.

And clearly, neither party is ceasing or desisting. The cost of those lawyers and letters might as well be banknotes burned in an ash tray.

Similar charges are being made against state Rep. Dane Eagle (R-77-Cape Coral). He’s an endangered species, states a TV ad that puts him in a gunsight’s crosshairs, because he’s a “surprisingly liberal Republican” who supported former Republican presidential candidate and Utah senator, Mitt Romney—the only Republican senator to vote for President Donald Trump’s impeachment.

This charge came out of an independent super political action committee (PAC) called Conservative Outsiders PAC, based in Athens, Ga., according to Federal Election Commission filings.

One interesting bit of hypocrisy comes courtesy of the campaign of Dr. William Figlesthaler, who has tried to transition from enraged, belt-wielding gonna give you a whuppin’ dad to genial barbequing paterfamilias in his latest TV ad, “Choices.”

“I’ve been focused on one thing: fighting for you and the conservative values we hold dear. Because tearing each other down is no way to build our country up,” he says as he benignly serves up lumps of charred flesh. That’s a laugh and a half considering that Figlesthaler has been a serial violator of President Ronald Reagan’s 11th commandment—“Thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican”—in the 19th Congressional District race to date.

But no primary race has generated more heat and anger over lying than the one for state Senate District 27, which covers Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Sanibel, Pine Island and Fort Myers Beach. There, state Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen (R-78-Fort Myers) has characterized state Rep. Ray Rodrigues (R-76-Estero) as “Sugar Ray,” a lackey of the sugar industry, which is blamed for polluting Lake Okeechobee and the Caloosahatchee River.

She in turn is being portrayed in TV ads as an abortion-loving, open borders-abetting liberal by Rodrigues and the Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Fitzenhagen is so mad about what she says are lies told about her that she’s grabbed a gun in a TV ad called “If you see Ray.” The ad is produced by something called In Florida we Trust, formed in June and located in Bonita Springs. It is aimed—literally—at Rodrigues.

“If you see Ray Rodrigues, tell him to stop lying about me and my record. I’m pro-life, pro-gun, pro-Trump,” she snaps, blasting away with a rifle—presumably what she’d do to Ray Rodrigues if she ever saw him on the street.

Commentary: The father of all lies

Why all this lying? And why does it seem worse than usual?

Every single Republican candidate in Southwest Florida has pledged his or her eternal loyalty to the Great God Trump and there is no liar in this or any other universe like Donald J.

Trump built his 2016 campaign on lies: he lies as president; he lied in his inaugural address; he lied about Ukraine; he lied about coronavirus; he lies about people close to him; he lies about his opponents; he lied about his marriage vows; he lied about his oath of office; he lies about Russia; he lies about America; he lies on Twitter; he lies incessantly, compulsively, daily, hourly—he even lies when truth might help him and he probably lies in his dreams.

This is the man all these Southwest Florida candidates “stand with,” praise, exalt and swear undying fealty to—and base their own behavior upon.

The Republican candidates of Southwest Florida can see that lying got Donald Trump elected. Since he’s elevated as the model of perfection and he lies constantly, his acolytes clearly feel no compulsion to tell the truth about themselves or anything else. Since lying is acceptable at the very pinnacle of the nation and there are no consequences for doing it, why not lie about their opponents to get elected?

What they did not take into account is the impact of being lied about.

It hurts. It’s painful to have your life and career and motivations and intentions and actions twisted and distorted and even completely fictionalized. In Trump, they all identify with the liar but have no empathy for the victims. So while it’s easy to fire outgoing lies at opponents and perceived enemies, it’s something else entirely to take incoming lies blasting you. Put another way, they can dish it out but they can’t take it.

While politics have always had an element of falsehood, Trump has lowered the bar to a whole new level. He’s dragged down all his adherents with him, even in places as remote and obscure as Southwest Florida. Most of these candidates have never run for office before and never experienced the slings and arrows of normal political brawling. When a lie punches you in the face, it’s painful and that’s a new and surprising sensation to them.

“You are not dealing with rational actors,” writes Republican political consultant Rick Wilson in his brilliant book, Running Against the Devil: A Plot to Save America from Trump—and Democrats from Themselves. “They are in service to an utterly amoral man, and by both inclination and necessity they will mirror his behaviors.”

So lies and insults are the order of the day among the Trumplettes of Southwest Florida.

Voters and television viewers can take comfort that the primary ordeal is almost over: this coming Tuesday, Aug. 18, the ballots will be counted and winners will emerge. Then will begin a simpler battle for the general election, when a decision will theoretically be rendered on Nov. 3.

If you haven’t voted already, in person or by mail, make sure you do, whatever your affiliation.

Keep in mind as well that this year nearly every race will have a Democratic candidate who will provide an alternative to this madness.

And instead of imitating Trump, you can take as your model someone else and follow his advice—to do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Liberty lives in light

©2020 by David Silverberg

BREAKING NEWS ROUNDUP: Banyai gets Dem enviro endorsement; Fitzenhagen calls it quits

June 12, 2020 by David Silverberg.

06-02-20 Cindy Banyai serious
Cindy Banyai

The Democratic Environmental Caucus of Florida (DECF) has endorsed Democrat Cindy Banyai for Congress in the 19th Congressional District, according to an announcement made by her campaign.

The Caucus works to preserve Florida’s environment and support lawmakers and candidates who do the same.

“I’m honored to be recognized by the DCEF for my commitment to preserving our environment and our water in Southwest Florida,” Banyai told The Paradise Progressive. “I’ll continue to advocate for community participation in sustainable development and climate action in Congress as I have within the UN system.”

Fitzenhagen calls it quits

12-03-19 Heather Fitzenhagen
Heather Fitzenhagen

State Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen (R-78-Fort Myers) has dropped her bid for Congress in the 19th Congressional District and will instead seek a state Senate seat in the 27th District, for which she has already qualified.

The seat is seat currently held by State Sen. Lizabeth Benaquisto (R-27), who is retiring after reaching her term limit to take up a job as executive vice president at Hope Healthcare in Fort Myers. The seat is being sought by Democrat Rachel Brown and Republican State Rep. Ray Rodrigues (R-76-Estero).

Fitzenhagen’s withdrawal from the congressional race leaves nine Republicans running.

As of this writing, Fitzenhagen had not posted any statements online or on social media about her decision. She is no longer listed as a candidate on the state’s list of candidates for the 19th Congressional District but is listed as qualified for the 27th Senate District.

Today at 4:26 pm, The Paradise Progressive posed the following questions to State Rep. Fitzenhagen:

    1. Can you confirm that you are no longer seeking the 19th Congressional District seat?
    2. Have you issued a statement to that effect? (Don’t see anything on your website, Facebook page or Twitter)
    3. Are you seeking the District 27 State Senate seat?
    4. Are you endorsing another candidate?
    5. If so, whom?
    6. What do you plan to do with the campaign funds you have on hand?

As of this posting, no response had been received.

Republican Dr. William Figlesthaler issued a statement today thanking Fitzenhagen for her legislative service, saying: “For years, she has fought against both radicalized Democrats and establishment, do-nothing, Republicans in the Florida House.” He posted a 19-second video tribute to her on a webpage that requests donations to his own campaign.

As of March 31, Fitzenhagen had raised $110,790 for her campaign. According to a poll released on June 2 by Political Prowess Polling, only 3 percent of 800 Republicans likely to vote in the August 18 primary indicated they would vote for her.

Liberty lives in light

© 2020 by David Silverberg

State of play: A GOP ‘Contender,’ Fitzenhagen’s finances, a Banyai announcement

02-20-20 Dane Eagle WGCUState Rep. Dane Eagle interviewed by WGCU.                      (Photo: Victoria Alvarez/WGCU-FM)

Feb. 21, 2020 by David Silverberg

In what is a virtual Party endorsement, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) on Wednesday, Feb. 19, named State Rep. Dane Eagle (R-77-Cape Coral) one of its national “Contenders.”

The Contenders are Republican congressional candidates singled out for special notice and support. Coming in the heat of sometimes contentious primary races, the program effectively amounts to a way for the national Republican Party to endorse a candidate without overtly intervening in an internal party contest.

Of the eight Republicans running for the seat in Southwest Florida’s 19th Congressional District, only Eagle was named a Contender. He was one of three Florida Republicans named to the program.

The Contender list is part of the NRCC’s “Young Guns” program, which develops candidates and requires them to work toward specific goals and meet election benchmarks. “Contender candidates have completed stringent program metrics and are on the path to developing a mature and competitive campaign operation,” according to the program’s website.

Thirty-five congressional candidates around the country were named Contenders, which is the second tier of the program. The first tier is called “On the radar,” which means that the candidates have come to the attention of the national party and have the potential to succeed in their races. Party donors can direct contributions to the candidates through the program.

“These hardworking candidates have proven their ability to run strong, competitive campaign operations,” stated Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-23-Calif.), the House minority leader. “We’re going to ensure these contenders are victorious in November by forcing their Democratic opponents to own their party’s radical socialist agenda.”

“I am incredibly thankful to Leader McCarthy for his hard work to make Congress red again and am honored to be on his list of Contenders,” Eagle stated on his website.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) does not have a similar program, although its Frontline program supports Democrats who won seats in 2018. However, No Democrat Left Behind, a coalition of groups supporting Democratic candidates running in heavily Republican districts, endorsed Democratic congressional Cindy Banyai in November.

Fitzenhagen’s finances and what they mean

12-04-19 Fitzenhagen headshot cropped
Heather Fitzenhagen

State Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen (R-78-Fort Myers) raised $31,550 in the last quarter of 2019, according to the Federal Election Commission.

Fitzenhagen was a latecomer to the contest, only filing her candidacy on Dec. 19, 2019.

All the money was raised in 24 donations and there were no loans. All but two of the donors were from Florida. The exceptions came from Texas and Colorado.

Fitzenhagen spent $1,158.75 during the period, all of it with Anedot, Baton Rouge, La., the fundraising consultant also being used by candidates William Figlethaler and Dane Eagle.

This completes The Paradise Progressive’s 4th quarter financial survey of the candidate FEC filings in the 19th Congressional District.  Republican candidates Darren Aquino and State Rep. Byron Donalds (R-80-Immokalee) and Independent Antonio Dumornay did not file any donations or expenditures. Democratic filings were covered in the article: Updated: O’Connell, Holden lead in 4th quarter fundraising in 19th Congressional District).

Banyai announces divorce

10-19-19 Cindy Banyai
Cindy Banyai

On Friday, Feb. 14, in a press release and announcement, Democratic congressional candidate Cindy Banyai announced that she and her husband were separating prior to their divorce.

“Like all families, we’ve had our fair share of struggles,” she announced. “Unfortunately, my husband and I are separating as we prepare for our divorce.”

Banyai will still be running: “I fully plan to continue this campaign because the stakes are simply too high to pack it in now,” she stated. “I am sure that my ability to be a mother and be a candidate will be questioned, but that is just the unfortunate reality of being a woman in American politics.”

Banyai is the mother of three children, aged 10, 6 and 2. Her husband, Andrew, is executive director of the Lee County Legal Aid Society, a private, non-profit organization that provides free legal aid to low-income residents.

“I have had a lot of jobs throughout my life. I am a mother, a small business owner, and a candidate for Congress. Like millions of other women in America, I have to manage a delicate balance between my family, my business, as well as my campaign,” she stated. “This will no doubt be a difficult time for myself, my children, and our entire family. While I understand I am a public figure, due to my run for Congress, I hope that my opponents and the media will respect the privacy of myself and my family during this difficult time.”

Liberty lives in light

© 2020 by David Silverberg





State of Play: Byron Donalds enters contest for Rooney’s seat; Holden, Fitzenhagen launch campaigns

01-06-20 Trump and DonaldsByron Donalds embraces President Donald Trump at a 2019 awards ceremony in South Carolina.       (Byron Donalds campaign video)

Jan. 6, 2020 by David Silverberg

01-06-20 Byron Donalds
Byron Donalds

The 19th Congressional District has an eleventh declared candidate today as State Rep. Byron Donalds (R-80-Immokalee) announced in a campaign video that he will be running for the seat currently held by Rep. Francis Rooney.

This makes eight Republicans vying for the seat.

Donalds, long a self-described conservative, is running on a pro-Trump platform.

“I am everything the fake news media tells you doesn’t exist: a strong, Trump-supporting, gun-owning, liberty-loving, pro-life, politically incorrect black man,” he says in the video.

Donalds, 41, born in Brooklyn, NY and now a resident of Naples, has served in the Florida House of Representatives since 2016. He describes himself as a businessman.

He attended Florida A&M University and graduated Florida State University with a bachelor of science degree. He’s married to Erika Donalds, a vocal public education critic, and has three children. The rural 80th District covers parts of eastern Collier and Hendry counties.

Donalds first ran for Congress in the 19th District in 2012 when he was defeated in a five-way Republican primary by Trey Radel. In 2016 he defeated Joe Davidow in the 80th District Republican primary, which he won with 64.3 percent of the vote, putting him in the seat he holds now.  In 2018, he defeated Democrat Jennifer Boddicker and Independent Dustin Lapolla in the general election, with 62.1 percent of 61,019 votes cast.

In his video, Donalds starts with a past drug bust that he says prompted him to turn his life around. “As a young man I was arrested for drug possession and theft. I knew I had to get my life together—and through the grace of God, I did,” he says of the undated event.

In a slap at gun control measures passed by the Florida legislature in the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting, Donalds states in his video: “When my own party caved to the liberals on your Second Amendment rights, I fought them—and will again.”

He also states that “I believe in the Constitution, the wall and that Socialism is another name for disaster” and he says, “Make no mistake, I will stand with the president against these impeachment radicals who trample our Constitution and paralyze our country with their dangerous lies.”

As of noon today, Donalds’ candidacy was not yet registered with the Federal Election Commission.

Campaign launches

This week two congressional candidates will officially launch their campaigns.

On Friday, Jan. 10, Democrat David Holden will hold his official campaign launch with a rally at Fleischman Park in Naples, from 4 to 7 pm, followed the next day by a second event in Fort Myers at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theater from 10 am to 12:30 pm.

On Wednesday, Jan. 8, Republican Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen (R-78-Fort Myers) will hold her campaign kickoff event at the Society restaurant in the Bell Tower mall in Fort Myers from 5 to 7 pm.



Liberty lives in light

© 2020 by David Silverberg