GUEST OPINION: Gulf Breeze News Publisher Seeks Florida Senate Seat

Posted on May 14, 2024 by GUEST OPINION


Gulf Breeze News publishes, periodically, the candidates for local races.

Typically, in Northwest Florida, there are no options other than Republicans for the races because this area is what is known as “reliably red.”

The problem with this method is that voters are told who will represent them in this election and in the next and the one after that. In many races, there is no debate, no need to campaign. Just put your name on the ballot and take your seat as the county officer, state representative or state senator. Then, you can put your son on the ballot and he can have your seat when your two terms are up.

I believe we need a strong two-party system. As stone sharpens stone, there should be a competition for ideas that will benefit the people of our area. When I noticed that no one was challenging Don Gaetz for Florida Senate District 1, I watched to see who would step up. No one did.

I called the local Democratic leadership to ask them who was going to run, and they said they didn’t have a candidate.

They asked me if I would consider running. I scoffed because I am very happy in my role at Gulf Breeze News. But it continued to nag at me. Would we just let someone walk into the senate seat, continuing the Republican lock on the Florida legislature?

Are we really going to continue to let these (mostly) men decide who is worthy of health care, forcing young girls and women to bear children they cannot care for? Are we also going to let women who are happily pregnant nearly die if they begin to hemorrhage during their pregnancy? With doctors afraid to perform procedures to end a troubled pregnancy, women in Florida must travel as far as North Carolina to get treatment since the south has abortion rights on lockdown.

Are we also going to allow a supermajority of Republicans to bend the rules as they did this year to allow our governor not to have to “resign to run” for U.S. President. Because of this, Gov. DeSantis spent months in Iowa instead of helping lower home insurance rates and addressing the lowest teacher pay in the U.S. Also, DeSantis created a “state guard” to report directly to the governor to do his bidding without legislative oversight. This is very troubling and has a lot of potential for abuse.

I waited to see if anyone else would do it. I met with several people and even attended a conference in Orlando. Finally, I decided that I would put my name on the ballot.

I’ve seen lots of people run for office and everyone says it was a great experience, no matter what the outcome. However, I think that anyone who puts their name on the ballot should have a plan to win.

So I did it. I filed the paperwork to run for Florida Senate District 1 against the well-funded Don Gaetz, father of U.S. Congressman Matt Gaetz.

You may remember that Don Gaetz served as State Representative then ran for State Senate, with Matt running for his house seat. For a time, there was Sen. Gaetz and Rep. Gaetz in the same district. Then Matt ran for congress and Don was term limited out after rising to Senate President.

After sitting out for eight years while Doug Broxson served as senator in district 1, Don Gaetz decided to go back into politics and seek the same senate seat.

Unlike Don Gaetz, I am not a millionaire. I am just a regular person who struggles to keep ahead of my bills when prices are rising all over.

I have a pregnant daughter that I worry may have complications and need emergency care. I want to continue to live in Florida but my homeowner’s insurance is cutting into my discretionary income.

I got tired of hearing DeSantis say Florida is “where woke goes to die.” I think it is time to wake up and take care of business. I believe we can do better. I hope you will join me in my quest and reach out to let me know how we can put the Florida senate back to work for its residents. After all, we, the voters, are the boss.

Thank you!

Lisa Newell, Publisher 

Gulf Breeze News