Special Election Alert
Voters in parts of Orange and Osceola counties began voting at early voting locations starting on January 6 to choose their candidate for Florida House District 35.
In Orange County, early voting runs from Saturday through Sunday, Jan. 14, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at three locations:
- Supervisor of Elections Office: 119 W Kaley St., Orlando, FL 32806
- Alafaya Branch Library: 12000 E Colonial Drive, Orlando, FL 32826
- Valencia College – Lake Nona Campus: 12350 Narcoossee Road, Orlando, FL 32832
In Osceola County, early voting runs from Saturday through Saturday, Jan. 13, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at two locations:
- Supervisor of Elections Office: 2509 E. Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway, Kissimmee, FL 34744
- Narcoossee Community Center: 5334 Rambling Road, St. Cloud, FL, 34771
The general election day is Tuesday, Jan. 16 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at regular polling precincts.
On Election Day, you must vote at your assigned polling location. Check your precinct polling information below.
For assistance in Orange County, call the Orange County Supervisor of Elections at 407-836-2070.
For assistance in Osceola County, call the Osceola County Supervisor of Elections at 407-742-6000.
In the upcoming special election for Florida State House District 35, one tool voters have to evaluate the candidates is to consider their endorsements.
Orlando Sentinel Endorses Tom Keen
The Orlando Sentinel endorsed Tom keen in an editorial entitled “In House District 35, Tom Keen has shown he’s ready to represent” (subscription required).
Over the past few months, voters in Florida’s House District 35 have gotten to know Tom Keen. And they are seeing plenty to like, starting with the fact that he respects them and supports their priorities.
This Navy veteran is down-to-earth and steadfast in his moderate-Democratic, thoroughly sensible values. He has his eye on Florida’s real needs: Promoting better jobs that pay livable wages. Creating affordable-housing solutions that put Florida residents’ needs first. Promoting high-quality education and better access to health care. Fixing the mess made of the property insurance market. Stopping the slaughter that has led to thousands of Florida residents dying of gunshot wounds and COVID-19.
After explaining the circumstances that led to this special election (former state representative Fred Hawkins abandoned the district for a plum job as president of South Florida State College) the Sentinel continues:
Keen knows the district. As a decade-long, highly involved resident of Lake Nona and aerospace executive, he knows what it takes to build and support a healthy business environment and a flourishing community. On the important priorities confronting the state, he’s as well-prepared as any first-time candidate we’ve seen.
That includes a healthy dose of political pragmatism that will serve him well, working across the aisle in a Republican-dominated House. Here’s just one example: He accepts the reality that Florida has barreled down the road of school choice, recklessly expanding vouchers that draw billions from public schools.
Democrats have little chance of unringing that school bell — but they can, and should, work to bring more accountability and transparency to the “schools without rules” that often sell children’s needs short.
“Choice is not choice when parents aren’t provided with the information” they need to make the best decisions, he told the Orlando Sentinel during the primary. It will be hard for anyone to argue with that.
Some of the other endorsements in this race may be helpful to voters making up their minds. For voters who are wondering which candidate is for economic fairness for working Floridians, several endorsements may be useful:
Pro-Business Endorsements Go To Erika Booth:
One endorsement, in particular, has raised concerns and warrants a closer examination — Erika Booth’s endorsement by the Associated Industries of Florida (AIF). AIF has a long-standing history of lobbying for the interests of employers at the expense of workers. Over its 80-year history, AIF has consistently fought against laws that would improve workers’ conditions, including those related to minimum wage, environmental regulations, unemployment benefits, and legal vulnerabilities for businesses. The organization has actively worked to suppress unions, fought against fair teacher pay, and maintained a stance detrimental to Florida workers.
AIF has an extensive lobbying apparatus that includes 20 contracted outside lobbyists and five lobbyists on staff. Notably, both AIF and “Let’s Preserve the American Dream,” an organization with ties to AIF, operate as dark-money nonprofits, concealing their donors. These entities are linked to major corporations, such as Florida Power & Light, Florida Crystals, U.S. Sugar, Walt Disney World, and HCA Healthcare, raising questions about the potential influence of corporate interests on Booth’s campaign.
Pro-Worker Endorsements Go to Tom Keen:
Meanwhile, Tom Keen’s endorsements tell a different story. A Navy veteran and Lake Nona businessman, Keen has demonstrated a commitment to serving the community. His involvement in various veteran-service organizations, the City of Orlando Citizens’ Police Review Board, and the Mayor’s Veteran Advisory Council showcases a dedication to public service. Importantly, Keen’s vision includes making Florida more affordable, aligning with the interests of everyday Floridians. And his endorsements show a different set of priorities. He’s endorsed by the Orange County Classroom Teachers Association, the organization which represents over 7,000 public school teachers in Orange County. Another endorsement from SEIU Florida, which represents thousands of service workers in Florida, shows his commitment to workers over corporations. Other unions which have endorsed Keen include the Communication Workers of America Local 3108, the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades Local 78 as well as the Ironworkers Local 808. These endorsements from democratically-run associations representing workers in this district shows a stark contrast with Erika Booth’s corporate endorsements.
In evaluating the candidates for Florida House District 35, the endorsement by the Associated Industries of Florida raises concerns over Erika Booth’s stance on workers’ rights and alignment with corporate interests. Tom Keen, with his background as a Navy veteran and commitment to affordability in Florida, stands as the candidate who would represent the interests of working families in the community. We recommend Tom Keen in this election, to stand up for the values of opportunity and fairness for hardworking Floridians.
Paid political advertisement paid for by Opportunity For All Floridians, 1430 S Dixie Hwy, STE 105 #144, Coral Gables, FL 33146. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.