Candidate Name: Andrew Learned
Candidate’s Preferred Pronouns
What office are you running for?
Florida House District 59
With which party are you running for office?
November 3, 2020
Why are you running for office?
I first ran for office after one of our SEALs, an American hero, didn’t come home from a raid in Yemen. That raid was recklessly conceived, irresponsibly ordered, and stubbornly pursued. I was the Navy’s lead planner for 5th Marines at the time and was involved as it unfolded first-hand. When Ryan died, that night I vowed to come home and hold this administration accountable.
That was 2018. We came SO CLOSE, built a campaign infrastructure, energized young people, and developed relationships. The Democratic incumbent State House member told me he was going to vacate the seat to run for Congress and offered his endorsement if I’d help hold the seat blue (we just flipped it in 2018). I jumped at the chance. I did so, frankly, because I made a promise to everyone who supported me to fight for their healthcare, their schools, and their jobs. It’s not about me, it’s about all of them. I’ve got fight left in me, and this is the closest Republican pick-up opportunity in the state of Florida. I’m going to hold this line so we can WIN and take back the legislature.
What is the biggest issue facing your community and how do you propose helping?
My community is diverse and the answer to that question depends on who you’re talking to. Healthcare and jobs are no-brainers. This is a suburban district and the economy of greater Tampa Bay is huge for us. We are all still paying far too much for far too little healthcare and expanding Medicare would do more for Florida than almost any other single issue. That said, as a suburban area schools and education are the top issues out here. I own a neighborhood learning center (think tutoring service) so I see it first-hand every day. The siphoning off of resources for charter schools, the unequal quality of education, and the socio-economic issues carrying over into the classrooms require our urgent attention.
How do we fix the partisan divide in our country and start working together again?
I used to be a Republican. I grew up that way, with evangelical parents and blah blah we’ve all seen the trope. That said, I’m a straight, white, business owning, veteran who used to carry an M-4 rifle on missions combating Somali piracy. That, AND I’m now a progressive Democrat. I think one huge thing we can do to bridge the divide is for Democrats to field candidates that do look like me so we can chip away at their game of identity-politics.
Who is your hero?
Martin Luther King. Read Peace to Love and you’ll know why.
What are your hobbies?
I’m a HUGE cyclist and triathlete. I’ve competed in multiple Ironman events and ALMOST won the state road race on my bike this year. 2020 is going to be my year!
What is the most recent book you read?
It was a re-read, but the Price of Inequality by Joseph Stiglitz.
Do you have any kids/pets/talking houseplants?
I’m everyone’s favorite uncle and I have a new girlfriend (don’t tell my mother, she doesn’t know yet) 😉
How can our readers get involved in your campaign?
Follow along and learn more! I’d love to earn your support in time. I need volunteers, checks, and good ol’ fashioned humans talking about us to people who will cast ballots.
What question do you wish we’d asked, and what is your answer?
Can you win?
Look, we need to field candidates and compete everywhere for a variety of reasons, but we also need to be strategic in where we target and why. My race is important because it is the closest Democratic hold in the state and it’s an open seat. It’s important we drain Republican resources here so we can be on offense elsewhere. We cannot ignore seats like this or we’ll offset our gains with losses and it’ll all wash-out. We need to do both things.
Post created from answers submitted by candidate to our Meet the Candidate survey.
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